Common eye problems found in the elderly

By  , Jagran Cityplus
Sep 24, 2010

Cataract (Motiyabind)
Do you have symptoms like haziness of vision, difficulty in reading, glare in bright light, difficulty while driving and occasional double vision?


You may be developing Cataract. Cataract is the most common cause of vision impairment in the elderly. Approximately 50% people above 60 years of age have cataract. In a tropical country like India Cataract is seen at an earlier age due to more exposure to ultraviolet rays, from the sun. No medicines are available for the treatment of Cataract and it has to be removed. Advances in technology have made Cataract surgery a very predictable procedure. No stitches are needed. One can walk in, have their surgery done and walk out after a few hours.


There are some common misconceptions about Cataract like:

  • Surgery should be done only when the Cataract matures.
  • Surgery should not be done in summer season.
  • The intra-ocular lens causes a pricking sensation.
  • One should stay in a dimly lit room and cannot watch television or read for few weeks.
  • Glaucoma cannot develop once Cataract surgery has been done.


Glaucoma (Kalamotiya)
Glaucoma is a disorder where increased eye pressure causes damage to the nerve of the eye. If not diagnosed on time this damage can be irreversible. As this condition initially does not have any symptoms, it goes undiagnosed. Therefore, periodic eye checkups by an Ophthalmologist are a must in all those above 50yrs of age.

Glaucoma is treated with medicines (eye drops). In certain types of glaucoma a simple laser procedure needs to be done. Surgery is usually resorted to when the above treatments fail.

Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes is a newly emerging cause of vision problems. This condition can occur in any diabetic, but is usually not seen in those whose diabetes is well controlled and of less than five years duration. In diabetic retinopathy there is a proliferation of abnormal blood vessels on the retina, which cause retinal damage. One should not wait for the symptoms to develop and must have periodic eye checkups.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment by laser is helpful in arresting the progression of Diabetic Retinopathy.


Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Age related macular degeneration is a disorder of the retina that causes gradual loss of vision in the elderly. The good news is that this condition is relatively less common in Asians as compared to Caucasians. Treatments such as high dose vitamins and laser procedures in certain cases are helpful in delaying the progression of AMD. People above 60 must visit an Ophthalmologist at least once a year.


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