As we age, our bodies go through a multitude of changes and one of the areas that can be particularly affected is our eyesight. Whether it's cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration, these conditions can have a profound impact on our quality of life and independence.
We spoke to Dr Varun Koul, Vice President, Medical Directorate, Glamyo Health, who explained why ageing causes eye problems.
The risk of some eye diseases and ailments rises considerably as people age and only grows worse over time. According to the recent report by the World Health Organization, around 79 million Indians have an impairment, and nearly 137 million have near vision loss.
Eye Issues That Affect Older Adults
Here are a few eye issues that affect people over the age of 50:
When the tear glands cannot generate enough tears or produce tears of poor quality, dry eyes are the result. The disorder may cause burning, itching, or a partial loss of vision, all of which can be quite uncomfortable.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ADM)
Dr Koul said that this condition is one of the main causes of significant vision loss in adults over 60, and it worsens over time. ADM develops when the macula, the centre of the retina, begins to deteriorate. Despite the fact that the disease typically does not result in blindness, it can seriously impair eyesight.
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This condition, which is typically brought on by abnormally high eye pressure, harms the optic nerve, which is essential for clear vision. It is one of the main causes of blindness in those over 60.
When the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, a cataract develops. Dr Koul explained that the lens's proteins deteriorate, making objects appear foggy, fuzzy, or less colourful. The disease is also among the major causes of between 50 and 80 percent of bilateral blindness in India, according to the recent data by the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey
Essential Eye Tests For Older Adults
Age-related eye problems must be identified through routine examinations conducted by an ophthalmologist. The following examinations ought to be performed on everyone:
Test For Visual Acuity
A person's eyesight is assessed using the lettered eye chart at various distances.
The ophthalmologist inserts drops into the eye to enlarge the pupil. This enables them to see the retina clearly and search for illness symptoms.
This examination measures the pressure of the fluid within the eye. The "air puff" test is the most popular way to check for high intraocular pressure out of all the techniques that are performed.
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Tips To Take Care Of Your Eyes
Dr Koul listed some tips that elderly people can follow to maintain their eye health.
- Seniors can reduce their risk of AMD by eating foods strong in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and lutein, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, squash, broccoli, and kale, as well as foods high in vitamin C, such as kiwis, strawberries, red bell peppers, papayas, and oranges.
- Many elderly people can avoid eye problems by consuming less sugar.
- It is essential to wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat with a brim when outdoors to protect the eyes from strong ultraviolet rays. People who are older are especially advised to wear sunglasses that wrap around the eyes.
- Smoking and ageing don't go well together. Smokers have a 2.5-3.5 times increased chance of developing macular degeneration. Not only this, smokers over 80 had a 5.5-fold increased risk of acquiring AMD.
- Daily exercise significantly improves eye health as well as general wellness. Daily exercise for seniors should include eye activities like the 20-20-20 rule, rolling the eyes, etc.
- Longer TV viewing sessions are not recommended. In the morning, close your eyes for a few minutes and spray water on them to relax them.
While ageing is inevitable, there are steps we can take to maintain our eye health. From a healthy diet and regular exercise to protecting our eyes from UV rays and blue light, these small changes can make a big difference.