How Vision Changes With Age

As you age, your body goes through all kinds of changes, including changes to your vision. A decline in eye performance can begin as early as your late thirties.

While many age-related vision changes are perfectly normal and easily addressed, some conditions are more serious and can cause permanent damage.

Below, the Access Eye team walks you through some of the most common age-related vision changes as well as the more serious conditions you should know about.

Normal Changes to Your Vision

Presbyopia – In your late thirties or early forties, your eyes may begin having trouble seeing objects up close. This condition is known as presbyopia and it’s easily remedied with reading glasses, progressive lenses or multi-focal contact lenses.

Dry eyes – The older you get, the fewer natural tears your body produces. To help with any stinging or burning sensations, you can use artificial tears or prescription dry eye medications.

Reduced pupil size – Over time, the muscles in your eyes controlling your pupil size and reaction to light lose strength. Consequently, you may experience increased sensitivity to bright lights and need to wear glasses with anti-reflective coating.

Other changes you may experience as you age include loss of peripheral vision and difficulty noticing the contrast between colors.

Age-related Eye Diseases

Cataracts – Cataracts are an eye disease that many older adults develop. The only way to remove cataracts is through surgery. But modern cataract removal is safe and highly effective.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that causes damage to your optic nerve and can result in permanent blindness. Glaucoma is preventable, however, with frequent, complete eye exams and early interventions.

Macular degeneration – This disease affects your eye’s macula, an area of your retina that controls visual acuity. Macular degeneration can lead to blurred vision or vision loss. Currently, there is no cure, but certain drugs and dietary modifications, such as consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, may help with treatment and prevention.