The four most common age-related eye conditions are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. These four issues cause vision impairment and blindness in aging adults more than any other eye issues. It is critical to have regular screenings to preserve your eye sight, especially if you are a high-risk candidate.
Patients aged 40-54 should be screened by a qualified doctor every 2-4 years or as needed for issues that arise. Those ages 54-64 should test their eye sight every 1-3 years. After age 65 the need for checkups rises to every year or two.
There are several types of eye doctors; optometrist which is a doctor trained to diagnose and treat eye disorders, perform eyesight checks, but they are not licensed to perform surgery. Ophthalmologist is medical-school trained doctor and can diagnose and treat all eye disorders.
- Cataracts affect about 21 million people in the U.S. (40 and older) according to the CDC. Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eyes’ lens formed by proteins as we age.
- Diabetic retinopathy affects 5.3 million and presents as damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye.
- Glaucoma affects about 2.2 million Americans over 40. It happens when fluid builds up inside one or both eyes, increasing the internal pressure and eventually damages the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma patients can lose their peripheral vision.
- 1.6 million Americans are afflicted with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The two types are termed ‘wet & dry’. Dry makes the macula (part of the eye involved in sharp vision) breakdown slowly. This causes blurring in the eye. Wet AMD is more serious. It’s when overgrowth of the blood vessels leaks blood and fluid into the back of your eye.
Protect your vision by eating right, watching your weight, regular exercise, controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol and don’t smoke. Proper screenings and knowing the warning signs are important to long-term eye health.
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