Vision Changes at 41-55 Years of Age

Did you know that your vision has been gradually changing since childhood? It’s true! These subtle changes occur for everyone, even for individuals who have never needed assistance from glasses or contacts. Over the course of your life, the lens in your eyes begins to stiffen and slowly begins to lose its ability to change focus from near to far.

Trouble Focusing Up Close (Presbyopia)
After age 40, these gradual vision changes often begin to manifest as having difficulty quickly changing focus. For example, you may notice transient blur at distance after you have been doing a lot of near work. This is called Presbyopia, which will continue to advance through your early 50’s when near vision changes should then stop. 

Presbyopia is not curable or preventable and it occurs for everyone. Your local optometrist can assist in correcting your vision with eyeglasses or contact lenses so that you can maintain your quality of life.

Symptoms of Presbyopia
These symptoms may occur gradually with the first signs showing after age 40:

  • Hold reading material further away to make letters clearer
  • Needing brighter lighting when reading
  • Squinting
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eyestrain/ headaches after a task requiring near vision like reading
  • Slow transition from near to far viewing or vice versa

Risk Factors
Age is the greatest factor for developing presbyopia. Almost everyone experiences symptoms of presbyopia after age 40 to some degree.

Premature Presbyopia Risk Factors
Specific diseases like diabetes, anemia, eye trauma, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases can increase your risk of premature presbyopia, which is presbyopia in people younger than 40. Some drugs are associated with premature presbyopia symptoms, including; alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressant, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, and diuretics.1

When to See an Optometrist
If blurry close-up vision is interfering with your day-to-day tasks or quality of life, it is recommended that you get a comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist right away.

Seek immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye with or without eye pain
  • Sudden hazy or blurred vision
  • Flashes of light, black spots or halos around lights
  • Double vision

1https://www.healthline.com/health/presbyopia#risk-factors

 

A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Vision: Ages 0-5

Does my child need an eye exam? Many parents are unaware that by age 5, a child should have completed three eye exams with an eye doctor. Vision screenings with a pediatrician are part of an essential health plan, but to get a complete look at how your child’s visual system is developing they need comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor as they approach classroom learning.

“Three eye exams by age 5 are essential for early detection of treatable eye conditions like amblyopia, eye turns, clinically significant far-sightedness, and total refractive errors. These specific eye conditions can develop prior to age 5 and they have potential to hinder classroom readiness and learning as the child enters grade school. An eye doctor can get a complete look at your child’s eye health to make sure everything is developing appropriately for school success. It’s really about making sure each child can learn without difficulty from the visual system,” explains Sheryl Benjamin, Executive Director at the Colorado Optometric Association.

Recommended Comprehensive Eye Exam Schedule for Ages 0-5:

  • 6-12 Months | Comprehensive Eye Exam by Eye Doctor
  • 3 Years | Comprehensive Eye Exam by Eye Doctor
  • 5 Years | Comprehensive Eye Exam by Eye Doctor

One study by the National Eye Institute found that vision screenings miss detecting one-third of children with an eye or vision disorder. Luckily, Colorado infants, ages 6-12 months, are eligible for a no cost comprehensive eye exam with a participating InfantSEE optometrist. InfantSEE is a nationwide public health program offering early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost, regardless of income. Find an InfantSEE doctor today!

What to Expect at a Pediatric Comprehensive Eye Exam


Comprehensive Eye Exams for 6-12 months

It’s recommended that this eye exam takes place around the infant’s schedule picking a time when the infant is content and not fatigued. Infants usually find this exam painless and fun.

First, the caregiver will be asked to give a family history since many eye challenges are hereditary. At this age, the infant usually sits in the caregiver’s lap during the exam while the doctor engages the infant in testing. The optometrist will use handheld objects like lights and toys to check that the eyes are working properly together. The doctor may use drops or a spray to dilate the pupils and get a better look into the health of the eyes. Additional tests will be performed to look for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and any risk factors will be identified. The optometrist will then recommend when to schedule the next eye exam (usually at age 3 unless the infant is high risk).

Comprehensive Eye Exams for Ages 3-5
Children at this age do not need to know their letters or numbers to fully participate in the eye exam and it’s okay if they are too shy to verbalize. During this exam the optometrist will be assessing vision acuity and eye teaming while looking for clouding of the lens, refractive error, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye, misalignment, convergence insufficiency, focusing problems, poor depth perception, color blindness, and additional eye health issues.

Tell your eye doctor if your child has/had any of the following issues:

  • Born premature
  • Delayed motor development
  • Repeated eye rubbing
  • Excessive blinking
  • Fails to maintain eye contact
  • Poor eye tracking

Find a Local Optometrist Today!

6 Impactful Ways to Age-Proof Your Eyesight

Age proofing your eyesight is a continuous process that is best when started early in life, but can be implemented at any age for eye health benefits. The rate in which our eyes age can be reduced if we are mindful of what increases age-related eye diseases and what slows the eye-aging process. For instance, once UVA/UVB damage to the eye occurs it’s often not reversible.

The likelihood of good vision throughout the lifespan is increased by practicing these six areas of protection as early as possible; good nutrition, exercise, sun protection, avoid smoking, limit drinking, and get annual comprehensive eye exams with your local optometrist.

Dr. Tom Cruse, Colorado Optometric Association’s Board President says, “The more annual comprehensive eye exams that you can attend as you age translates to having a much higher chance of early detection and can equate to avoiding issues later in life that include low vision issues, blindness or even save your life. Live that healthy lifestyle and see your optometrist regularly for the best chance at age proofing your eyesight.”

  • Annual Comprehensive Eye Exams: It’s simple, just because you don’t have any symptoms does NOT mean you should skip your annual comprehensive eye exam. Many vision threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy have no or minimal symptoms until the disease has progressed. Early detection is key to slowing progress, managing disease, and saving vision. Optometrists look at a lot more than just your visual acuity in a comprehensive exam and can even detect other health issues such as autoimmune conditions, allergies, medication complications, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and more. Find a trusted Colorado optometrist here!
  • Good Nutrition: When choosing what to eat throughout your day make sure you’re getting the nutrients that promote healthy eyes. To support your eye health and reduce eye disease risks choose foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. If you have already been diagnosed with an eye disease check with your optometrist to understand which foods can support your eye health and which foods can provoke your symptoms or even speed up the progression of the disease. Your eye doctor may even prescribe a nutritional supplement to support your eye health. More nutritional information. 
  • Regular Exercise: Regular exercise is helpful across the board for your general health, but it’s also essential for keeping your vision from diminishing. One study of more than 15,000 people discovered that individuals who exercised and drank occasionally had less vision loss over a 20-year period than individuals who did not exercise and did not drink.1 This finding outlines the importance of exercise. Find the exercise that works for you whether it’s walking, hiking, running, swimming, weightlifting, or the countless other ways to get movement in.
  • Consistent Sun Protection: Sun exposure can increase your risk of cataracts and if you have blue eyes and fair skin your risk of cataracts is even higher. Once sun damage of the eye occurs, the long-term impact is not reversible making sunglasses more important than most people think. The Colorado sun is bright due to the elevation and the intense sun reflecting off of snow or water. Grab a pair of 100% UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses to safeguard your eye health and wear them when outside. Pair your sunglasses with a hat for even more UV protection since sunlight can slip in through the side of your glasses. Start your kids off right by protecting their eyes early on. Bonus, tiny sunglasses are cute!
  • Continue to Avoid Smoking or Quit Smoking If You’ve Started: The truth is that smoking tobacco increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome. Many of these diseases can lead to vision loss or blindness. ARMD is the leading cause of blindness and studies show that smokers have up to four times the risk of developing ARMD. If you’ve been unsuccessful at smoking cessation keep trying and get support such as using the Colorado QuitLine, a free support program for Colorado residents. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or Enroll today. 
  • Limit Alcohol Intake: It’s common knowledge that alcohol can impact your vision during use. The long-term effects of alcohol consumption can include increased risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and optic neuropathy. Heavy drinking can impact your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients, which are needed for proper eye health.

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