The Importance Of Annual Eye Examinations When You’re Over 50

As we age it’s only natural to assume that our eyesight, just like the rest of our body, will start to let us down. However, it can be dangerous to attribute changes in your eyesight just to age. That means that if you have flashes, spots, blurriness, or floaters you should book an appointment with your optician to get your eyes checked. 

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Once you hit 50, the experts at R Woodall recommend the importance of having regular eye examinations. These annual appointments can help not only to check on your vision and make sure that any spectacles you have are the correct prescription, but they can also help to diagnose conditions like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration before they can become too severe. 

Presbyopia

This is a condition that results in your eyes losing the ability to see things clearly close up; this is a gradual loss. The word “presbyopia” comes from the Greek meaning “old eye”, and it is something that can start to occur as you get older, particularly once you reach 50. A key sign that this may be an issue is that you may notice you are holding reading materials further away in order to be able to see them properly. 

The condition is caused by the lens in the eye becoming more rigid over time. When this happens, it cannot change its shape as easily and this makes it harder to do close-up tasks. As this is part of the normal ageing process, it cannot be reversed or stopped, but the condition can be corrected with the right prescription. This is why an annual eye examination is important. Without correction, Presbyopia can lead to eye strain and frequent headaches. 

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an issue with the retina in the eye; it occurs when the macula (a part of the retina) becomes damaged. 

AMD is the leading cause of loss of vision in individuals over the age of 50. With AMD, you can lose your central vision, so you won’t be able to see the finer details, with both close and far away items. Your peripheral vision (side vision) will, however, still be normal.

You are also more likely to develop AMD if you are overweight, a smoker, have a history of high blood pressure, eat a diet that is high in saturated fats or if you have a family history of AMD. 

There are two types of AMD. Dry AMD, whilst there is no treatment for this type, can be managed with vision aids. Wet AMD, however, which can be treated with injections into the eye and, if necessary, photodynamic therapy, a form of light treatment.

Glaucoma

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This is a common eye condition which results from damage to the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is usually caused by a build-up of fluid in the front part of the eye. This increases the pressure inside the eye itself. If it is not diagnosed and treated early, glaucoma can result in a loss of sight. Whilst Glaucoma can affect individuals of all ages it is more common as people get older. 

Conclusion 

You may not think there is anything wrong with your eyesight, but like many other things in life, prevention is better than cure. Plus, having an annual eye examination can help your optician to build up a better understanding of your eye health. 

If they spot anything that might be of concern, they will be able to recommend more regular check-ups to keep a closer check on your eye health and this will allow for the appropriate treatment before the issues get too serious. 

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