As you grow older, you will probably notice some changes to your health. In particular, your eyesight can begin to deteriorate as you get older with the onset of presbyopia occurring around 40 years of age. As you enter your 50s and 60s, you can also become more at risk of developing certain eye conditions.
With that in mind, it’s important to do everything you can to maintain healthy vision and to understand how to deal with vision loss should it occur to either yourself or a loved one. From wearing the right glasses for your needs, to simply making a few changes to your environment, you can make the most of your vision.
Why does your vision worsen with age?
Your vision changes as you get older simply because eye structures and changes in eye naturally occur as you grow older. Just as your skin may wrinkle and your hair might go grey, changes in your eye can lead to a decline in your eyesight.
You might experience reduced pupil size, which can affect your ability to see in different light conditions. This is because the muscles that control your pupil size lose some strength as you age.
You might also begin to notice a loss in peripheral vision. The size of your visual field can decrease by approximately 1-3 degrees per decade. This means by the time you are 70-80 years old, you may have lost 20-30 degrees of your peripheral visual field.
How to offset vision loss with practical solutions
A lot of age-related changes in your vision can be helped with practical solutions. For instance, extra lighting can help with activities such as reading or cooking. This can include anything from extra lamps to lighting underneath kitchen cabinets or above the stove.
If you develop a cataract, vision loss from this can be restored with surgery.
You should also continue to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet, including not smoking and not drinking alcohol excessively, as this can provide the best natural defences against vision loss as you get older.
Permanent vision loss
Many age-related eye diseases can cause permanent vision loss, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. It is important to understand that permanent vision loss doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy a full life.
There are a number of low vision devices that can help you overcome any challenges that come with vision loss. These include hand-held magnifiers, wearable smart camera devices for additional assistance and lens types to reduce glare.
You should ensure that you are taking extra precautions to be safe in your surroundings, if you suffer from vision loss. Consider removing clutter or rearranging your furniture to make sure walking paths are completely clear, as well as ensuring stairs are always free of items.
Lighting can make a significant difference; choose warm or soft white light bulbs that can be more comforting on your eyes and cause less glare than other harsh lighting solutions.
Seeing an optician regularly is key as they are able to assess any further changes in your vision and they can also ensure you are wearing the right type of lenses or other visual aid for your needs.