One mistake that many people make when it comes to eye health is that they assume it only applies to older folks. Although vision loss is often age-related, problems can still develop early in life and in adulthood. Much like hearing, our sight tends to degrade over time and culminates into more serious problems later in life. Adults should schedule regular eye exams to check for early signs of disease and catch any problems that may be occuring before they get too bad. For children, eye exams are an important part of development.
For children, eye exams help to ensure that their eyes are developing without issue. Children who have poor eyesight may not perform well in school or in sports. If they’ve lived with this issue all throughout childhood, they may not know what normal vision looks like, so it’s difficult to diagnose anything without taking them to an eye care specialist.
What many people don’t realize is that vision and learning are very closely linked. As much as 80 percent of the learning process is visual according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). Children with eye issues may have problems with recognition. In other words, they may not be able to make out the difference between two letters or numbers. Although this can be a problem for adults too, with children, it means there may be confusion or difficulty learning certain things.
Although adults won’t necessarily be suffering from the development issues that a child will experience with poor vision, eye problems will still have a major impact on your life and performance in your career or doing things you love. Visiting an eye doctor for regular eye exams will help you catch these issues early and have them taken care of so you can get back to living your life instead of worrying about it getting worse into old age. Below are some of the conditions you may be diagnosed with after visiting an eye doctor.
In a healthy eye, the person will see a clear image because incoming light rays are focused on the retina by the cornea and lens. Although the cornea stays in one place, the lens is constantly moving to focus on objects, depending on how close or far away they are from the eye. The lens becomes more rounded to focus on objects that are closer while it becomes flatter to focus on objects farther away. A refractive error is when the cornea and lens aren’t able to focus on objects properly meaning some things may appear blurry or out of focus like a poorly taken photo. Adults who experience a refractive disorder may have issues driving because their depth perception is thrown off.
- Nearsightedness - Also known as myopia, nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too long for the refractive power of the cornea and lens. What this means is you’ll see objects that are close clearly, but far away objects will be out of focus.
- Farsightedness - Also known as hyperopia, farsightedness is the opposite of nearsightedness meaning the eyeball is too short for the cornea and lens. This means you’ll be able to see objects that are far away clearly, but closer objects will appear out of focus.
- Astigmatism - An astigmatism refers to a cornea or lens that is not perfectly shaped which can result in blurry vision at any distance or angle.
- Presbyopia - This condition occurs with aging, usually in early or mid 40s. This happens when the lens gets stiff and isn’t able to easily focus.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment
Posterior vitreous detachment is when the vitreous begins to shrink and liquefy, pulling away from the back wall of the eye. When this happens, the patient will experience floaters or small defects when looking at a plain background. They typically form in middle-aged adults, so it’s important to contact an eye care specialist immediately if you’re experiencing this.
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high glucose levels in the blood. The body has an impaired ability to respond to these changes so problems can arise. Although diabetes can have an affect on your body as a whole, diabetic retinopathy is one of the serious complications caused by diabetes in adults. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the retina to become damaged and weak. They may start to leak blood or fluid causing damage to the eye and blurring vision. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy, so regular eye exams are important to prevent serious and permanent eye damage.
As a senior, eye exams are equally as important as for children and adults. Untreated conditions may manifest themselves with age or minor conditions may become more serious with age.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is most common in seniors over the age of 60. It results when the macula, part of the retina, is damaged. It’s characterized by loss of central vision while peripheral vision remains clear.
Around 80 percent of AMD cases are the dry form of the disease. When the macula gets thinner with age, small clumps of protein form called drusen. You’ll slowly start to lose central vision.
Although wet AMD is far less common than dry AMD, it’s much more serious. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. The macula is scarred when the vessels leak blood or other fluids. When you have wet AMD, you will lose vision faster than with dry AMD.
Cataracts are the clouding of the lens of the eye that is normally clear. By the age of 80, over half of Americans have a cataract in one or more eyes or have had a cataract procedure done in the past. However, they’re more common in people over the age of 40. People with cataracts will experience blurriness in both central and peripheral vision.
As you can see, eye conditions don’t just occur in old age; they can also be a significant problem in childhood and adulthood as well. In childhood, eye issues can cause changes in development and make learning and progressing difficult. In adulthood, refractive disorders and eye diseases can impact our daily lives making it difficult to work or drive. In seniors, age-related macular degeneration and other diseases can start to take effect on eye health, possibly leading to blindness. If you’re ready for a comprehensive eye exam in Round Rock, don’t hesitate to contact your local eye care specialists at Round Rock Eye Consultants.