As you age, it is normal to slowly notice deteriorations to your eyesight. Supporting your eyesight as you age though, is still incredibly important.
It is possible, that you may begin to notice the following changes:
- Inability to distinguish between colours, such as pink from black.
- Needing extra time to adjust levels of light.
- Difficulty seeing items up close.
However, the good news is that there are plenty of solutions to these problems such as wearing glasses or contact lenses.
It’s important to ensure you get regular eye examinations as your risk for eye disease increases as you get older. Keeping on top of routine checks will help identify problems sooner rather than later.
If you are someone with a long-term eye condition that you’ve had for years, it’s important to continue with your condition management as you age.
According to self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 13 million Australians have chronic (long-term) eye conditions.
How can I protect my vision?
Having your eyes checked regularly by a professional is the first step to protecting your vision. This will help to ensure you and your optometrist are able to spot any changes early, such as leaking tears and blurry vision.
Unfortunately, many people do not notice any signs in the early stages of eye disease. During your routine checks, the eye care professional will undertake a dilated eye exam which will spot any inconsistencies.
It is completely normal for changes to occur as you age, these changes usually do not harm your vision. This may include light sensitivity, dry eyes, blocked tear ducts, or changes in temperature. All of which can be easily treated by an eye professional.
However, there are conditions that can be abnormal, that are also picked up in an eye exam. This is why, if you are over the age of 50, regardless of your vision, it is highly recommended to attend an eye examination every year. This will help to ensure you can protect your eyesight as you age.
Those with diabetes, are also expected to get a dilated exam every year.
Regular check-ups with your primary healthcare provider are important to avoid eye problems caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.
It is important to always get your prescription checked and altered if needed. Small changes to your sight can increase your falls risk.
Ensuring you are wearing the correct glasses and contact lenses is also crucial. Always seek guidance if you are unsure if your prescription is right.
What happens during an eyesight examination?
The eye examination consists of the eye care professional placing little drops into your eyes to help dilate your pupils.
This allows them to further inspect your eyes for any changes since the last examination.
You may find common side effects after the examination such as blurry or sensitive vision. This, however, only lasts a few hours so it is encouraged to have someone with you.
Tips for maintaining healthy eyesight as you age.
There are a variety of things you can do to protect your eyes as you age, such as the following:
- Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation (UV).
- Stop smoking.
- Being wise with food choices.
- Being active and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Attending regular health examinations.
- Maintaining normal blood pressure.
- Taking breaks during working hours (if you spend a lot of time on the computer.)
- Managing your diabetes.
What are eye diseases?
There are a number of eye diseases that can lead to blindness or vision impairment. These diseases can be more common and impact your eyesight as you age.
That is why it is encouraged to keep on top of your appointments as some of these conditions can be treated if caught early.
What should I look out for?
Sometimes eye conditions are silent which is why it is good to see an eye care specialist as they have the tools to see the things you can’t.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should see an eye care professional straight away:
- Suddenly everything is blurry.
- You start to notice many specks that seem to float across your vision.
- Redness or swelling on your eyelid.
- Eye pain.
- Starting to experience double vision.
There are many things to look out for, but these are some of the common symptoms that suggest a deterioration to your eyesight as you age. We recommend seeing an eye care professional as soon as possible if you notice any of the above symptoms.
What is low vision?
Low vision tends to affect some people as they age, you may have low vision if you:
- Cannot recognise the faces of familiar people such as your family.
- Have difficulty doing everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
- Difficulty reading street signs.
- Not noticing whether the lights are bright.
It is best to ask your eye care professional to test you for low vision.
There are many things that can help you adapt to your vision loss such as using a magnifying tool and attending vision rehabilitation programs.
Some helpful tips for those with low vision include:
- Using paper with bold lines to help you write.
- Brightening the room, you are in.
- Placing coloured tape on your stairs to help you see.
- Having clocks with large numbers to help you see.
- Increasing the size of the text on your phone.
It is important to confirm with your doctor whether your vision will impact your ability to drive.
If you find yourself needing assistance with doing everyday activities, you can contact your Care Manager to discuss further assistance.
Or, if you do not have a Care Manager and would like to learn more about applying to receive assistance in your home, you can reach out to our expert team on 1300 497 442.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful, and you’ve discovered some tips for protecting your eyesight as you age.