Age Related Eye Disease: Keeping an Eye On It
We all know our bodies change as we age, whether we like it or not! But there are things you can do to stay on top of these changes and proactively manage your health.
As you age, you will become more vulnerable to age-related eye disease and conditions. According to the National Eye Institute, it is recommended that you have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at age 50 or before, by an experienced ophthalmologist.
Why You Should Keep an Eye on Age Related Eye Disease
Many diseases of the eye have no outward symptoms or obvious warning signs. With a dilated exam, your doctor can diagnose issues like:
Glaucoma is a slow, progressive, and asymptomatic disease of the eye. It is painless and vision loss is not noticed until the disease is already advanced. It is the second-leading cause of blindness (after diabetes) for Caucasians and the leading cause of blindness for African-Americans in the United States.
Glaucoma is caused by irregular eye pressure. Since elevated eye pressure isn’t something you can feel or detect on your own, it is important to visit an ophthalmologist regularly to get evaluated, particularly if you have any risk factors that may lead to developing glaucoma.
Anyone with diabetes is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy. In early stages of the disease, there may not be symptoms. But without proper treatment, it can permanently damage the retina. If not caught early, it can produce symptoms that affect vision like mild blurriness, floaters and even the sudden loss of vision. Left untreated, it may cause severe vision loss and even blindness. Eye surgeons cannot reverse damage that has already occurred, but If caught in time, modern treatment options can slow its progression and prevent further vision loss.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a retinal disease. The retina is the back portion of the eye containing the cells that respond to light, or photoreceptors. With AMD, the part of the retina called the macula is damaged. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you are more likely to develop AMD if you:
- eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- are overweight
- smoke cigarettes
- are over 50 years old
- have a family history of AMD
- are Caucasian (white)
Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. A retinal screening by an ophthalmologist can provide insight into your vascular health, catching signs of damage that otherwise could go undetected.
Cataracts will affect almost everyone eventually. Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye gets cloudy and thick. Changes in vision resulting from cataract development can range from very subtle to extreme. Increased glare or trouble with night driving and difficulty reading are the most common presentations.
The timing of surgical intervention is critical to achieve the best outcome and quality of vision possible. Good timing can also lower the rate of complications and prevent blindness or permanent vision impairment in many cases.
See what you’ve been missing!
Age related eye disease is very common. Start protecting your eyes today – don’t wait until it’s too late. Learn more about compassionate medical and surgical eye care. Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for leading-edge solutions to your vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to connect with our scheduling team.