Sight Throughout the Years: How Our Vision Evolves and Devolves with Age
Our eyes are one of the most miraculous components of our body. They’re responsible for enabling us to take part in the majority of our day to day activities. They’re what allow us to take in the
world around us and create an unspoken connection with the people we interact with. Unfortunately, our eyesight doesn’t maintain its strength and clarity through the years as we age. Aging eyes plague millions of Americans with blurry vision, eye pain, or retinal disorders. However, just because we age does not mean our eyesight automatically goes out the window. There are plenty of steps to prevent eye problems from becoming a daily nuisance as we grow older, the first of which is understanding what naturally happens to our eyesight as we age.
How Our Eyes Work
As light enters our eye, it passes through the cornea. This is the translucent tissue at the front of the eye that acts as the “window” through which light must first penetrate. After light passes through the cornea, it is focused by the lens and onto the retina. The retina is responsible for converting light to a neural signal. Think of the retina like the film in a camera. Once this light is processed, it is carried via the optic nerve to be processed into visual information by our brain. As we age, this process is prone to becoming less coherent and inclined to cause us visual disruptions.
With age, our bodies are exposed to a countless barrage of contaminants, many of which go unnoticed to us. Considering our eyes are so exposed for the majority of our day, it makes sense that they would take quite the beating over the years. Sun exposure, dust particles, smoke, and bacteria in the air all slowly take their toll on our corneas. Another contributor to damaged corneas is the inflammation of the eyelids, also known as blepharitis. This may cause symptoms such as a disruptive, transient film over the eye or damaged tear cells. This can lead to a condition known as dry eye, where you may experience itchy or burning eyes. Typically, a humidifier or special eye drop supplement is prescribed to help with dry eye.
Our cornea is not the only thing that is prone to eye problems. As we grow older, the lens of our eye becomes less clear and flexible than it was when we were younger. This can both cloud and distort our vision, especially after the age of 40. This opaqueness of the lens is often referred to as a cataract and is a major cause of vision loss for middle-aged eye patients. Additionally, as the lens of our eyes grows stiffer and less pliable it has a more difficult time focusing on objects at certain distances. Presbyopia describes this condition, in which activities like reading a newspaper or a book, require you to hold the print further away in order to clearly read it.
Fortunately, there are proven treatments to these common aging eye problems. A lens affected by cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial one. LASIK surgery is another increasingly popular option for those with near or farsightedness and wanting to lessen their dependency on prescription glasses. LASIK implements a laser to safely access the area of your eye within the cornea to administer treatment for many common vision problems. Growing older means we must be more attentive to taking care of our bodies, especially the parts of our bodies we use and depend on every day of our lives. No one can see into the future, but the better we take care of our eyes, the better we’ll be able to see during our future.
For a consultation towards clear vision, or to clear up any questions you may have, contact the Orange County office today. We are standing by to answer any of your concerns, and to help you get your vision back to where you want it. Join our growing family of happy customers who trust us with their eyes.