Are you over 40? Changes to your eyesight are a natural part of ageing and certain anatomical changes naturally occur as the eyes age.
If you want to stay 'fabulous in your 40s', you can minimise the impact of age-related vision loss on daily life and reduce disease risk by monitoring any vision changes, creating an eye-friendly environment for yourself and adjusting your lifestyle choices.
The first steps to distinguish between vision changes that are due to normal ageing processes and vision changes that may be signs of disease. Keep a regular schedule of check-ups with an eye expert.
Presbyopia – A natural change in vision
Presbyopia, or blurred near vision, affects everyone sooner or later. Don't panic - you just need an eye test to determine which eyewear is right for you.
Bifocals - If you need one prescription for distance vision and another for close work, then bifocals could be the answer. Two different strengths in the same lens means you won’t have to worry about carrying two pairs of glasses with you.
Varifocals - Varifocals give you all the benefits of different prescriptions in the same lens, but without the tell-tale line that bifocals can have. Varifocal lenses have a gradual change from your distance prescription to your close-up one, so they look just like ordinary glasses.
Reading glasses - When you need a little help to focus, reading glasses offer a simple solution. With a prescription that helps keep the words pin-sharp, you can carry on enjoying your reading.
Contact lenses - When wearing glasses isn’t convenient, try contact lenses. For sports or active recreation contact lenses give you more options. You can even have them with varifocal prescriptions.
If you need eyewear but don’t know what type will be best for you, your optician will recommend various options.
Eyesight for life
At the stage in your life when you are likely to have more free time for hobbies, activities, family and friends, it would be a shame if poor eyesight meant you couldn’t enjoy it to the full.
Regular check-ups are vital - As we age, our eyes become more susceptible to certain problems. Visiting your optician regularly can help diagnose and treat these conditions early, as waiting until a problem is noticeable may be too late.
Cataracts - Cataracts are common in over 60s. The lens becomes opaque, blurring vision and even leading to loss of sight if left untreated. Early on, the condition may cause near-sightedness and the reduction in perception of blue colours. Surgery is the most effective way to restore vision.
Diabetic retinopathy - Diabetes can cause tiny blood vessels to leak or burst, blurring sight and leaving dark spots on the field of vision. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent loss of sight.
Floaters - Tiny ‘spots’ or ‘blobs’ in the field or vision are often just harmless clusters of cells and will disappear without worry. If they persist, it is worth checking with an optician as they may be a sign of another condition.
Glaucoma - A build-up of fluid within the eye can increase pressure, which in turn damages the optic nerve. The loss of visual field often occurs gradually and slowly, and may be recognised by the sufferer only when at an advanced stage. This loss of vision can never be recovered, so prompt diagnosis is essential. Treatment is via simple eye drops.
Macular degeneration - In older people, the macula – the centre of the retina which is used for detailed vision thins and occasionally bleeds. This can lead to distortion of, or even the loss of, central vision. The sufferer may also have trouble discerning colours. Peripheral vision remains unaffected, but central vision loss is serious, so early diagnosis and treatment is vital.