Just as keeping active and having a varied diet really helps our bodies to stay healthy, as we age, it also helps to keep our eyesight healthier for longer too. But even the healthiest of us can experience some changes to our vision as we get older and our eyes start to change.
It might be something as simple as needing to start wearing contact lenses or glasses for reading or driving. But, as long as you keep having regular eye examinations, we can help you to see clearly as you start dreaming about that well-deserved retirement, holiday of a lifetime or precious days of fun with your grandchildren.
We’ve compiled a list here of some of the most common complaints about eyesight that we can experience as we age and ageing eye symptoms to look out for.
I see small specks or spots floating across my vision
Small specks or ‘spot-like’ shapes floating across your line of vision are quite common and referred to as ‘floaters’. Floaters can start to happen at any age and, in most cases, are completely harmless.
As we get older, they are more common as the gel-like substance, called vitreous can become more watery and small clumps of cells can be noticable and float in the gel. These can cast a shadow on the retina, which cause the dots or circles known as floaters.
They usually become less noticeable as time goes on, but at your next eye examination, it’s worth mentioning it to us, just so that we can check there’s nothing to worry about.
I have trouble reading small print
As we get older, lots of people can start to struggle with reading the small print. You might notice it most when you’re in a restaurant with low lighting, or if you’re in the supermarket and trying to check the ingredients on your pasta sauce!
This can be a sign of presbyopia. It often starts to happen around the age of 45 and is just an effect of your eye muscles weakening over time. Although we can’t stop the effects of presbyopia, it’s really easy to manage.
When you come for your eye examination, we can talk you through your prescription and let you know if you have presbyopia. Then you can talk to us about getting glasses to help, or if you’re not a fan of frames, we offer a free contact lenses trial to see if they work for you. Our ACUVUE® multifocal lenses are specifically designed for presbyopia and can be worn to take the hassle out of everyday activities, like reading the small print!
I have blurry or cloudy vision
Blurred vision can be a symptom of a few different things, including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and even astigmatism. Blurred vision can also affect both eyes or just one or the other.
Cloudy vision shouldn’t be confused with blurred vision. ‘Cloudy’ vision refers to when objects are obscured or milky. It can sometimes be a symptom of cataracts, which are more common as we get older.
A cataract is where your eye’s natural lens gradually becomes clouded, causing your vision to blur or make things appear misty. Often people who are suffering from cataracts notice that they struggle seeing in low light or find some lighting too harsh or bright.
You can find out more about cataracts and other common eyes conditions in our blog Looking After Your Eye Health. If you think you might be suffering with cataracts, book an eye examination with us today.
I have some problems with my middle vision, but not my peripheral vision
If you’re experiencing issues with the middle part of your vision such as blurring or distortion, it could be a sign of macular degeneration. Activities such as reading, or driving may become more difficult if you experience these symptoms.
The macula is the central part of the retina and is the part that looks at things in detail. There are two types of macular degeneration – wet and dry.
Dry is where the base layer of the retina becomes ‘lumpy’ so images become distorted. Wet Macular Degeneration is where leaks from the surrounding vessels have leaks which can damage the retinal nerve cells. The OCT scanner at the practice helps us to monitor macular degeneration and both conditions can be supported with good nutrition, supplements or medical treatments.
Ageing eyes and Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that is caused by increasing pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Measuring the pressure in your eyes is part of the routine eye examination for adults, so as you get older, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping up-to-date with your eye tests.
It’s especially important as there are usually no symptoms during the early stages of glaucoma, but if it is left untreated, it could have damaging effects. If you’re overdue your eye examination, book in with us today.
We can help with ageing eyes
Just as our bodies change as we age, so do our eyes. We can make sure that our eyes are in tip-top condition by having regular eye examinations and taking care of our overall health too. Check out our blog on 8 key nutrients to optimise eye health to see how eating right can help your eyesight.
If you’re over the age of 60, you are also entitled to free NHS eye tests which provides a basic test, but you can upgrade to a more comprehensive examination to include the OCT. If you need specs we have a huge range to suit every style and face shape. Pop into our Burton Road practice to speak to our frame styling team who will be happy to help you find the perfect frames.
If contact lenses are more your thing, we also have free contact lens trials so you can find the lens that works for you and your lifestyle.
If you feel like you would like more advice on any of these ageing eye conditions, and other problems with eyesight, our experienced Optometrists are on hand to carry out eye examinations and give you more information. You can book your appointment here or call the team on 01332 291010.