It is generally accepted that as we age our eyesight begins to weaken, and prescription glasses and contact lenses are not far behind after one’s 40th birthday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs up that assumption with the fact that more than 3.3 million people older than age 40 are legally blind or suffer from poor vision in the U.S. The main cause? Age-related eye diseases.
However, at the USC Roski Eye Institute, our board-certified ophthalmologists believe that vision loss is not a foregone conclusion of getting older and continue to develop and provide the most cutting-edge treatments for restoring and improving eyesight. The USC Roski Eye Institute is consistently recognized for its commitment to high-quality patient care and achieving major breakthroughs in vision research.
Identifying Age-Related Changes in Eyesight
Many people begin to notice subtle changes in their eyesight as they get older, such as difficulty seeing in low light, reduced tear production, trouble reading or focusing on nearby objects, and reduced color perception. It is important to get regular eye exams in middle age in order to watch for early warning signs of common eye diseases, including:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – A blinding eye disorder that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula, which allows the eye to see sharp details.
- Glaucoma – A set of vision disorders that cause increased pressure in the eye because the fluid within the eye does not fill and drain properly. This initially leads to irreversible loss of peripheral vision, but can ultimately lead to irreversible loss of central vision or all one’s vision if not detected early and treated in a timely manner.
- Cataracts – The eye lens becomes cloudy, causing fuzzy or blurred vision, difficulty reading, and trouble driving at night due to light glare and sensitivity to light.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – A complication of diabetes in which the blood vessels of the retina become increasingly damaged, resulting in blindness if not treated in a timely manner.
What Factors Put You More at Risk of Age-Related Eye Problems?
Not everyone will experience the same level of vision loss or change over time; however, certain factors put individuals at a higher risk of eye problems, including the following:
- Genetics – A family history of macular degeneration or cataracts
- Environment – Working in a hazardous occupation, prolonged sun exposure, straining the eyes to focus on a computer screen without taking breaks
- Health Conditions – High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or even allergies
- Poor Diet or Habits – Heavy smoking, not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables, or not exercising on a consistent basis
- Eye Color – Light-colored eyes are less resistant to damaging UV rays
- Gender – Females are often more likely to develop AMD
While not all risk factors can be controlled, such as family history or age, it is crucial to take a proactive approach to maintaining healthy eyes by getting comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding fatty foods, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Find Expert Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute
Whether you are ready for your regular eye exam or are concerned by your eye health or that of a loved one, the cutting-edge ophthalmology team at the USC Roski Eye Institute can help you. Get in touch with us today by calling 323-442-6335 or filling out the online contact form. With locations in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Arcadia, we can help you find the eye care you need as soon as possible.
To learn more about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323-442-6335 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.