Vision at 60
While ageing affects the health of our eyes, poor eye health should not be accepted as a way of life. There are several predominant eye conditions to look out for from around 60 years of age. You may not know you have a problem until serious, irreversible damage has been done. Among over 60s, vision problems can also increase the likelihood of other problems such as depression and falls.
Some people avoid eye tests because they think that there is nothing that can be done to help their failing vision. However regular eye tests can detect many conditions in their early stages helping you maintain your independence and quality of life.
Four major eye conditions among over 60s
Glaucoma– damage to the optic nerve cells, often due to pressure inside the eye, causing loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma may not always be self detected and must be treated early to prevent progressive and irreversible damage. It can also be hereditary.
Cataract– clouding of the lens inside the eye, usually the result of long-term UV exposure and ageing, causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts are very common and can be easily removed and replaced with a plastic lens by surgery.
ARMD (age-related macular degeneration) – central retina deteriorates, distorting close vision. Your chance of developing AMD is much higher if it runs in your family. You may not realise you have AMD until your central vision becomes affected, and while it cannot be cured, there is some treatment available which must be started early.
Diabetic retinopathy –diabetes can start to affect the blood vessels at the back of your eye which can cause serious vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy must be detected and treated early and may require laser treatment.
Driving and vision
Ageing can affect vital aspects of your vision required for safe driving, such as your ability to see clearly at far distances or to see out the corner of your eye and your night vision. This can lead to poor reaction times and misjudment which can seriously affect the safety of yourself and others. In most cases, your optometrist can help you reach the vision standards necessary for safe driving.
Some of the key warning signs for eye conditions include:
- Spots in your vision
- Sudden eye pain, discomfort or redness
- Loss of central vision or edges of your vision
- Distorted vision
- Double vision
- Decreased colour vision
- Reduced ability to adjust to light changes
Advice to over 60s
Know your eyes
Be aware of the health of your eyes and how your vision is affecting your everyday life by learning the warning signs and looking for changes.
Discuss your concerns
Be sure to talk about any concerns you may have about your eyes and vision with your family and friends.
Get your eyes tested regularly by an optometrist
You may not know when you have a serious eye condition. The earlier eye conditions are detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment and retaining your vision.
If you think you may have a problem with your eyes or vision, consult an optometrist immediately
Your optometrist can provide a comprehensive eye examination to detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems and to prescribe glasses or contact lenses where required. Eye examinations with an optometrist attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required.