As you age, your body goes through a lot of changes, some of which affect your eyes. Around your 40th birthday, you may start noticing some subtle - and not so subtle - changes your vision. If you haven't made vision care a priority up until this point, you need to make some adjustments to your health care routine; beginning with an appointment with an optometrist. Now that you've reached middle-age, here are five vision problems you need to be aware of.
1. Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
If you've developed a sudden pain in your eye, and the pain is accompanied by headaches, eye redness, nausea or loss of peripheral vision, you may be in the early stages of narrow-angle glaucoma. Some causes of narrow-angle glaucoma include pupillary blockage, iris plateau, hyperopia, and tumors.
The symptoms of this disease can come on rapidly and can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated quickly. If your eye pain becomes unbearable, contact an optometrist as soon as possible. You may be experiencing a vision emergency.
2. Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is another vision problem that can affect your vision once you enter midlife. With this disease, you experience a sudden loss of vision, much like a black sheet that blocks your ability to see. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina tears away from the blood vessels of the eye. When that happens, the retina no longer obtains the nourishment it needs to remain healthy. If you experience the symptoms associated with retinal detachment, you need to seek immediate treatment from your optometrist.
3. Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration causes distortions in the way you see things. For instance, straight lines may appear to curve. The disease also causes significant blind spots to occur in your field of vision. The dark spots may as small areas but gradually spread over the entire field of vision. Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the macula portion of the eye.
This eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in older people. While there is no treatment that will reverse the symptoms of macular degeneration, there are ways to slow down the progression of the disease.
Cataracts is an age-related eye disease that affects your vision gradually. The disease begins with halo-like radiating effects at night, especially around street lights. Cataracts begin with night vision problems, but as the disease progresses, your daytime vision is affected as well. Some health issues that increase your risk of cataracts include hypertension, obesity, smoking, and genetics. Cataracts are treatable through surgery and through the use of corrective lenses.
5. Vitreous Detachment
When you're young, your eyes are filled with a vitreous gel that helps create the round shape. As you enter middle-age, the amount of vitreous matter in your eyes deteriorates. When that happens, the tiny fibers responsible for vision separate from the retina. Alone, vitreous detachment doesn't cause vision problems. However, in extreme conditions, the disease causes the fibers to detach forcefully enough to cause retinal detachment, which is a threat to your vision.
One way to ensure that the condition is diagnosed quickly enough to prevent retinal detachment is to have your optometrist test for the disease at each vision exam.
Are you worried about your vision? If that's the case, visit your optometrist once a year and make a note of any vision problems you experience. If you haven't had a vision exam in over a year, or you're experiencing any of the age-related symptoms discussed above, contact us at Carolina Cataract & Laser Center, P.A. We're here to take care of your vision concerns.