Eye issues are an inevitable part of getting older. While some vision issues are nothing more than mere annoyances, others can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. The best way to protect your eyes in your later years is to be well aware of warning signs that there may be an underlying issue.

Early detection and routine eye exams are key to protecting your vision. Here are 10 of the most common warning signs of aging eyes.

1. Floaters

Have you ever experienced tiny spots or specks in your field of vision? If so, chances are that you noticed them on a sunny day or in a well-lit room. Floaters are normal, and they are usually caused by changes in the vitreous. This is a gel-like fluid that fills the back of the eye.

Generally, floaters are nothing of great concern. However, if you notice a sudden change in the type of or amount of floaters that you experience, it’s important to see your eye doctor immediately. These symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a detached retina.

2. Dry Eye

People aged 40 and over are more likely to experience reduced tear production. This increases the risk of dry eye, which is commonly diagnosed in those over the age of 65. Dry eye can cause a stinging or burning sensation. It may also cause a gritty feeling, especially when opening and closing the eyes.

Ironically, dry eye can also cause excessively watery eyes, as the dryness prompts the eye gland to produce more tears.

Dry eye is often treated using over-the-counter eye drops. However, if you have more serious symptoms, it’s best to consult with an ophthalmologist for prescription treatment.

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over the age of 60. Glaucoma is usually caused by improperly fluid drainage, which leads to a build-up of pressure behind the eye. If left untreated, this pressure can damage the optic nerve.

Glaucoma is a generally pain-free condition. It usually affects both eyes, but rarely at the same time. The high amount of pressure behind the eye can lead to vision loss as well as total blindness.

4. Cataracts

As we get older, the proteins located in the lens break down, which allows for the formation of cataracts. Cataracts cause blurred or cloudy vision and are most commonly diagnosed in Caucasians. In fact, 70% of Caucasians are diagnosed with cataracts by age 80, compared to only 53% of non-Caucasians.

Others who are at a higher risk of cataracts include those with diabetes, those who spend a lot of time in the sun, and those who use certain types of medications, including corticosteroids.

Vision can after be corrected in those with cataracts by wearing glasses or contacts. However, if the condition interferes with your everyday life, surgery may be recommended.

5. Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is another leading cause of vision loss. In fact, the condition affects over 10 million Americans each year. This disease damages the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. The retina is responsible for color as well as straight-ahead vision.

As the disease progresses, it can cause wavy or blurred vision. If left untreated, people will eventually experience central vision loss.

While there isn’t a known cure for macular degeneration, there are ways to slow the disease’s progression, including making healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking and eating a healthy diet.

6. Presbyopia

old african american man wearing black hat

Presbyopia is the inability to see small print or close objects. The development of presbyopia happens as we get older, with most people noticing effects of the condition between the ages of 35 to 40.

Those with presbyopia often hold reading materials at an arm’s length in order to be able to properly read them. The condition can also cause tired eyes or headaches, especially when reading.

Presbyopia is often treated with reading glasses or bifocal lenses.

7. Retinal Detachment

A detached retina occurs when the retina separates from the supporting elements at the back of the eye. Aging causes the gel-like fluid in the center of the eye, known as vitreous, to change in size and texture. This increases the risk of the retina becoming detached.

While the condition isn’t painful, the longer the retina is detached, the greater risk there is of permanent vision loss. Common symptoms of retinal detachment include:

  • Diminished vision
  • The sudden appearance of floaters
  • Sensation of a shadowy curtain

8. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects those diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It occurs when excess glucose damages the blood vessels located in the retina. When damaged, blood vessels can swell and leak blood, along with other fluids, into the retina. This causes cloudy vision, along with blurriness and floaters.

If left untreated, the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy worsen. You may experience empty areas in your vision as well as dark spots. Some report vision loss as well.

9. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is when the rims of the eyelids become inflamed. It’s thought that the condition is caused by bacteria on the eyelid or dandruff. Blepharitis is commonly diagnosed in those who have rosacea, as well as seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Those with the condition usually experience soreness, redness, swelling, burning, and stinging in the eyes. Blepharitis may also cause itchy eyelids and crusty lashes.

10. Trichiasis

Trichiasis is a common age-related condition, where the eyelid skin loses elasticity. This causes the eyelashes to grow inward toward the eye. The lashes can rub against the cornea and lead to redness, excessive tearing, corneal abrasion, and sensitivity to light.

The condition can also develop due to eye trauma or an eye infection. Treatment is usually conducted using an in-office procedure to remove the lashes.

Protect Your Aging Eyes with the Help of ADV Vision Centers

Getting older doesn’t mean that you have to accept vision problems. One of the best ways to protect your eyes, especially as you get older, is with regular eye exams. An ophthalmologist is able to detect any underlying eye diseases or vision impairments before they lead to vision loss or blindness.

The team at ADV Vision Centers offers a variety of opthalmologist services, including comprehensive eye exams, vision testing, corneal evaluations, and treatment for red eye and dry eye.

Schedule an appointment by calling our team at (805) 987-5300 or by using our online scheduler tool today.