Most adults between the ages of 19 and 50 enjoy healthy eyes and good vision. The most common eye and vision problems for people in this age group are due to visual stress and eye injuries. By having an annual eye exam, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes from stress and injury, you can avoid many eye and vision problems.
If you are at risk for eye problems due to a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or past vision problems, you may need more frequent exams. In between examinations, contact our office if you notice a change in your vision. Detecting and treating problems early can help maintain good vision for the rest of your life.
The most common vision problems are refractive errors, more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball (either longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens can cause refractive errors. Most people have one or more of these conditions.
One of the most common eye problems seen in adults age 40 and over is loss of focusing ability called presbyopia. This is an age-related condition in which the ability to focus up close becomes more difficult. This is generally noticed when reading, viewing electronic devices, and driving at night. As the eye ages, the lens can no longer change shape enough to allow the eye to focus close objects clearly.
In your 40s, you probably noticed that your vision is changing. Perhaps you need glasses to see up close or you have more trouble adjusting to glare or distinguishing some colors. These changes are a normal part of aging.
But as you age, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These include: age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye.
Everyone age 50 or older should have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam. Many eye diseases have no early warning signs or symptoms, but a dilated exam can detect eye diseases in their early stages before vision loss occurs. Early detection and treatment can help you save your sight. Even if you are not experiencing any vision problems, a dilated eye exam is recommended. How often you need to be seen depends on your specific risk factors.