As one gets older it is inevitable that eyesight will be one of the first things to be affected. However it is not always realised what sorts of problems occur with aging. As such, it is perhaps useful to recognise what they are.
One of the commonest eye ailments is cataract. The latter can be caused by a number of things, although simple wear and tear of the internal workings of the eye is the most common.
However it is also possible that a cataract can be caused by trauma, the effects of certain drugs and particular medical disorders. The condition is also known to occur in some babies as a congenital defect.
While having cataracts was accepted at one time as just part of growing old, nowadays they can be treated by using laser treatment. What’s more the procedure can be carried out as an outpatient in a hospital under local anaesthetic. The days of major surgery are long gone.
Macular degeneration is another major disorder that affects older people. There are 2 forms – dry eye and wet eye.
The macula is the central region of the retina, and has the highest concentration of light sensitive receptors. Over time these receptors become damaged – again through wear and tear. The commonest form of the disorder is ARMD or Age Related Macular Degeneration, with the dry form being the commoner of the two. It is also the milder of the two types.
While a serious disorder which can result in blindness, there is much research trying to stem its progression, if not eradicate it altogether.
Finally, the last major eye disease more commonly associated with age is Glaucoma. This is often inherited, and is a disease of the optic nerve.
Unfortunately, Glaucoma is something that patients are not aware they have until it’s too late. Signs of it can be detected, but if it isn’t picked up early then it can cause blindness. The latter starts in the peripheral area of a person’s vision then progresses steadily onto central visual area.
Treatment is usually via drops, but they can have side effects, although these days they are not so severe. As the condition is generally genetic, new therapies are also being developed.
So, while growing old can for some be something to worry about, in reality there are now many medical procedures and treatments that are slowly but surely improving or maintaining people’s eyesight as they get old.