Dr. Trent Richards
Ophthalmologist, Tanner Clinic
I have several patients tell me each week that their vision is poor but that they haven’t done anything about it because they figured that was just a normal part of aging. I have come to realize that this is a very common misconception among the older population, because it is actually not “normal” to lose your vision as you age. If you have lost some vision, there is likely a specific reason why this has occurred. The good news is that we can often fix the problem and restore your eye health.
Cataracts are a very common cause for people to lose their vision as they age. They typically start slowly and can progress into a serious condition which impacts one’s ability to read, drive and see clearly. Cataracts will continue to worsen, potentially causing total blindness, unless removed. Fortunately, cataract surgery has advanced into what is now an easy 10 minute surgery that can not only restore your vision, but actually give you improved vision without needing glasses.
Glaucoma is a condition that can cause you to painlessly lose your peripheral vision so slowly that you don’t notice it until you have permanently lost a significant portion of your eye sight. If we catch the glaucoma early, we can start treating it and potentially eliminate any loss of vision from the condition. This is why a routine eye exam can be so important.
If the clarity of your vision seems to fluctuate during the day, that may be a sign that you are suffering from dry eye. If your tear film is poor, then your vision will also be poor. A great way to start treating dry eye is with over-the-counter artificial tears. You can place a drop in your eyes four times a day, and if this does not help, you should see your eye doctor who can develop a treatment plan.
There are many other conditions that may contribute to vision loss, such as macular degeneration or droopy eyelids, so it is a good idea to have a yearly eye exam once you are in your 60s to help screen for the development of these conditions.