You should be enjoying life as you move into your senior years. Many seniors needlessly struggle with slowing degrading eyesight. Modern surgical techniques can correct the top two eye conditions experienced by seniors. Don't let failing sight spoil your retirement. Learn about these eye diseases and how you can get your healthy eyesight back.
The lens of your eye works like the lens in a camera to focus light and create a clear image. As a person ages, a protein builds up in the lens, causing it to become cloudy and affecting vision. The National Eye Institute notes that nearly 25 percent of the people over 65 get cataracts with the percentage increasing to nearly 50 percent for those over 75.
Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes. Your vision slowly becomes less clear and you may compensate by using drug store reading glasses. This can go on for years until your vision becomes so poor that you finally go to an eye doctor. The correction of cataracts is simple and you can relieve yourself of a lot of headaches by going to the doctor when you first notice a problem.
Surgery is done to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). This artificial lens restores your clear vision and resists the protein build-up of your natural lens. In the rare case that an IOL can't be used, your old lens will be removed and your doctor will give you a prescription for glasses or contacts to accommodate the lack of a lens.
At the center of your retina is a small area called the macula. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the slow deterioration of this area with severe changes to your vision. This is not as prevalent as cataracts, with only 1 percent of those over 65 developing it, according to the National Eye Institute. But it is the leading cause of severe vision loss in seniors.
There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. With the dry form, small deposits develop on the macula, obscuring your vision. With the wet form, small blood vessels form on the macula, sometimes leaking fluid onto the retina. The dry form often leads to the wet which is when most of the vision is lost.
You may notice that straight lines begin to look distorted. Your central vision becomes blurry while your peripheral vision stays intact. You may see dark or light blotches in the center of your vision and colors may look different. Eventually, you can lose most of your central vision.
Laser surgery can be done to destroy the offending blood vessels on the macula. This dries up the fluid leak and clears up your vision. Another type of laser procedure involves a chemical injected into your bloodstream which is picked up by those blood vessels. The macula is then exposed to a cold laser which causes the chemical to damage the blood vessels, and again clearing up your central vision.
You don't need to go into your senior years with poor eyesight. See your eye doctor regularly for an exam and take care of any of these eye problems immediately. Enjoy your senior years with clear vision.