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Is It Time for an Eye Exam? Signs You Might Need Help With Vision

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Is It Time for an Eye Exam? Signs You Might Need Help With Vision

It's normal to experience some loss of vision as you get older, but that doesn't mean you have to live with it. Here are some examples of age-related vision issues, what you can do to help yourself and when to see the eye doctor.

Conditions That Occur Normally With Age

Some eye conditions are normal as you age and may not require a trip to the eye doctor. Here are a few you can remedy at home.

  • Presbyopia. You can't see close objects or small print clearly with this condition. It’s a normal process that occurs with age, starting around age 40. You can usually get reading glasses at a pharmacy but can also visit your eye doctor for a prescription if it worsens.
  • Dry eyes. With this condition, your tear glands stop making enough tears, causing your eyes to itch, burn or redden. If left untreated, dry eyes can, in rare cases, cause a loss of vision. If the problem persists after you begin using eye drops that simulate real tears, see your eye doctor.
  • Tearing. You may also produce too many tears if you’re sensitive to wind, light or temperature changes. Wear sunglasses to minimize the effects. If the condition worsens, ask your doctor for recommendations, such as keeping a humidifier in your bedroom at night.

When to See the Eye Doctor

The following conditions should prompt a visit to your eye doctor.

  • Discomfort and general changes. Seniors should take notice of any changes in vision. Eye surface diseases are common as you age. However, if you experience burning, extreme dryness, constant eye irritation or blurry eyesight, don’t hesitate to consult with your eye doctor for relief and to ensure nothing is seriously wrong.
  • Diabetes-related eye issues. An increased rate of diabetes has sparked a related increase in a condition known as retinopathy, which poses a unique risk to senior eye health. If you have diabetes, pay attention to your eye health and schedule regular exams. Mild diabetic retinopathy doesn't have any symptoms, but you should call your eye professional with any questions that arise.
  • Floaters and flashes. Floaters are normal as you age, but they can sometimes be a sign of something more serious, such as a retinal tear or detachment. These may be accompanied by bright flashes in your vision and require immediate medical attention to prevent vision loss.
  • Cataracts. Healthy eyes are clear like a camera lens, and light passes straight through to the back of your eye. When you have cataracts, cloudy spots on the surface of your lens block it and impair your vision. Typically, they form slowly and don't cause pain or redness, so you may not notice them right away. Once they become a problem, your eye doctor can remove them during surgery or replace your lens.

Importance of Annual Checkups

By far, the most important thing you can do to protect your vision is to make and keep regular eye appointments with an eye doctor near The Gardens. According to the National Institute on Aging, your annual exam should include eye dilation if you’re over 65. A dilated exam lets your ophthalmologist or optometrist clearly view the back of the eye so they can detect diseases that aren't yet showing symptoms.

There are many qualified eye professionals in the surrounding community of Springfield, MO. However, the staff would be happy to make a recommendation to help you see the world as clearly as possible.