If you’re the kind of person who relies on the occasional driver’s license vision test to tell you that it’s time for an eye doctor appointment, it’s actually time for a rethink. Because, believe it or not, your eyes are aging right along with the rest of your body. Vision changes typically begin not long after age 40.
Maybe it’s that you have to hold the newspaper or restaurant menu closer than before. Glare from headlights might make it more difficult to drive at night. Or perhaps you’ve been buying brighter and brighter lamps, trying to light up the crafting supplies you can no longer see so well.
These vision changes are normal, in part because the eye’s lens becomes less flexible over time and that makes it tougher to focus. The glare comes in when the lens can’t focus light as precisely on the retina as it once did.
The loss of the ability to focus on close things is called presbyopia, and there are several options for treating it. Your vision care provider might prescribe glasses with single vision for reading or multi-focal lenses so you can see well at a range of distances. There are also contact lenses, including mono-vision and bifocal lenses. Lastly, there are laser surgery and other refractive surgeries. The important thing to know is that most people have several different options for managing changing vision. An appointment with a vision care professional is the first step toward addressing age-related vision changes and issues and finding out what solutions are available to you.
A thorough eye exam is also the only way to rule out a more serious problem, such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. That’s why anyone 60 years of age or older should get annual eye exams due to the higher risk of these two conditions. Changing vision may be inevitable with age, but a check-up can rule out serious problems.