Aging and Your Eyes — Why Early Detection is Important
As you reach retirement years, you may have already noticed your vision beginning to change. Perhaps you have trouble adjusting to small details or light, or you may need glasses to perform simple tasks such as reading. While many of these changes are normal, they may be preventing you from enjoying an active lifestyle or living independently.
It’s never too late to get started on looking out for your eye health. Unfortunately, many eye-related diseases don’t show symptoms until the condition is advanced, so early detection is key if you want to improve your chances.
Now in its second decade, September is Healthy Aging® Month, which is an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older -- and that includes taking care of your eyes. Nevada Eye Physicians can help you maintain your vision by screening for age-related diseases that affect your eyes. This month, we encourage you to educate yourself about these conditions and schedule a routine eye examination at any of our 8 locations in Nevada including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump. Our team can evaluate your eyes through a series of simple tests designed to determine if you have issues such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration, and whether any action needs to be taken.
When was your last eye exam?
If you are over the age of 60 and cannot answer this question, then you should definitely set up an appointment with one of our experienced eye care professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians. Age brings about changes that can affect your eyesight. Some of these changes are more serious than others. But for most issues, they can be easily treated and there are things you can do to protect your vision moving forward. Even if you are not experiencing any out of the ordinary symptoms with your eyes or vision, it’s still important to attend routine eye exams. There are many conditions or diseases in the eye that may not present immediate symptoms, but a problem may still exist that only a trained optometrist or ophthalmologist can identify. The key to good eye health is to have regular eye exams so you can spot problems early.
During your eye exam, your doctor will perform several tests that can detect vision problems early on so that they can be treated and corrected before they progress and create further complications. Your doctor may also place drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils so they can easily look inside. This method is the only way to discover certain eye diseases that have no early symptoms. It is important that those with contacts or glasses keep their prescription updated every year as this may change over time.
Read on for information about certain eye conditions that become more prevalent as you age and how the professional team at Nevada Eye Physicians can help treat them.
Las Vegas, NV is situated on the floor of the Mojave Desert with very little humidity, which means residents likely suffer from dry eyes from time to time. However, this condition is not just related to location. When tear glands are unable to produce enough tears, chronic dry eyes are the result. Dry eyes should never be overlooked since this symptom can cause discomfort, itching, burning, or even loss of vision. This makes it difficult to read or sit at a computer for extended periods of time. An experienced physician may suggest using medicated or over-the-counter eye drops along with a humidifier to restore your natural lubrication.
Most people who develop presbyopia will not notice any changes until after they turn 40 years old. Presbyopia is the gradual loss of ability to see small print or close objects, even when holding them closely. This is due to the gradual thickening of the lens and loss of elasticity. A good example of presbyopia is when an individual holds a book or newspaper at arm’s length to see the words more clearly. This condition can be improved with prescription reading glasses, contact lenses, or surgery if your doctor recommends it.
A cataract occurs when a normally clear lens becomes cloudy, preventing light from passing through the eye. While most cataracts develop slowly over time with no symptoms, eventually it becomes more difficult to see. People with cataracts have cloudy vision, similar to looking through a foggy window. A simple surgery allows your doctor to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic one. It is recommended that you visit a Nevada Eye Physicians’ office in Las Vegas, NV or any of our other 7 locations across Nevada including Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump for an eye exam if you begin to notice blurred, cloudly, or dim vision or recent sensitivity to light and glare. It could be a sign that you have developed cataracts and need to have the condition treated.
Glaucoma is a serious disease that can progress from vision loss to permanent blindness. Some risk factors for glaucoma are age, medical conditions such as diabetes, race, and certain prescription medications. Other less common causes are physical trauma to the eye, infection, and blockage of the blood vessels. Glaucoma causes increased pressure in the eye, but most people will not notice any pain or symptoms and will need to be assessed by a doctor to confirm if they have it. Treatment for glaucoma can include oral medications, prescription eye drops, laser treatment, or even surgery.
The macula is the center part of the retina that has millions of nerve cells, all of which are sensitive to light. This area is what helps individuals see small details, such as letters when reading. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when you begin to lose these cells due to age, causing blurry vision. While AMD does not cause complete blindness, there is no cure in the advanced stages of the disease. When caught early on, you may be able to benefit from certain nutritional supplements. For more severe cases a doctor may recommend laser treatment or medications.
The dedicated team at Nevada Eye Physicians is fully prepared and ready to help you handle any age-related eye conditions. In observance of Healthy Aging Month this September as well as all year long, you can keep your eyes in the best shape possible by being proactive and scheduling regular eye exams. Don’t wait to develop symptoms before seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Using the latest tools and technology at the 8 locations of Nevada Eye Physicians in areas including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, we will be able to understand any issues you are experiencing and improve your eye health so you can continue to enjoy an enhanced quality of life. Simply contact an office location that is convenient for you and make your appointment today.