There’s an old saying that maybe your mother frequently used: “old age doesn’t come by itself”.
That’s certainly true when it comes to your eyes.
As you age your eyes are going to possibly not work as well as they did when you were young, and they are going to become susceptible to a range of conditions and diseases, some of which can be serious and threaten sight.
On the other hand a few problems associated with the eyes as you get older are relatively minor and are readily treated, and there is a waiting army of professional optical physicians – optometrists, ophthalmologists and optical dispensers – who have the expertise and constantly improving technology at their disposal to help you.
So don’t worry if you have something starting to go wrong with your eyes – but don’t just wait and hope that things will clear up – even if it sounds a good idea – because it is NOT a good idea!
If something’s going wrong – MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!
When does “older” actually begin?
Young people may often think that “older” is 21 years and upward, but as far as the eyes are concerned it is really describing people in their 40s.
During their 30s and 40s young people usually don’t notice anything wrong with their eyes until one day it suddenly seems the small print in a magazine or the menu in a dimly lit restaurant is somehow difficult to decipher.
Not to worry!
It’s all part of getting old – yes, at the tender age of 40!
Now even if are 40 you don’t have anything wrong whatsoever with you eyes, it’s still a good idea to have a routine eye examination as it is possible to pick up on the early beginnings of something sinister that is not yet presenting any symptoms at all.
But let’s stick to the minor problems with the eyes that you are likely to encounter during your transition to old age:
Often with ageing tears are not produced in sufficient quantity by the eyes, or the tear ducts cease to function effectively, not providing adequate filming and protection of the eye surfaces.
Rubbing the eyes is a common answer to the problem, which of course only leads to complications with soreness and infections such as “pink eye” and conjunctivitis.
If the eyes are allowed to dry out too much it’s possible that the cornea may sustain damage – permanent damage.
Dry eyes are prevalent today due to people growing up staring at computer screens, at work or in leisure, and not blinking enough – a blinking rate of every 6 to 8 seconds is considered to be satisfactory, whereas when this extends to every 12 to 20 seconds this can lead to severe dryness.
By the time you are 50 you have a 1 in 3 chance of suffering from the condition of “dry eyes”.
Remedies include resting your eyes of course, but also using “artificial tears” – over the counter eye drops – but don’t use to excess. If the dry eyes persist, then consult your optometrist.
In days gone by we used to associate dry eyes with old age. This is no longer the case. Some of the most severe dry eye cases we have seen at The Eye Practice are in an age group under 40. Look up some of our other articles or visit our dedicated site:
The eyes need tears to lubricate the eye and keep dirt and dust out – but too many tears, or ineffective drainage, can cause as many problems as dry eyes.
Allergies, infections such as conjunctivitis or a simple blockage of a drainage duct, can all lead to watery eyes.
Treatment needs to attend to the cause of the watery eyes, and in the case of blocked tear ducts there are simple surgical procedures to alleviate any condition.
Yes, as you get older it seems inevitable that you’ll need spectacles or contact lenses!
Also of interest we are finding that younger children are far more likely to need spectacles. Significant study, excessive computer use and lack of outdoor activity seems to be associated with a condition called myopia or short-sightedness.