Several eye conditions are more common among people as they age, although they can affect anyone at any age. Here are a few
In a healthy eye the lens is clear like a camera lens, so light can pass through the lens without a problem. Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop within the natural lens of the eye. Light cannot get through easily and results impaired vision. Cataracts usually form slowly, causing no pain, redness or tearing in the eye. If they become large or thick and affect vision, they can usually be treated with surgery to replace the lens.
This is the loss of the eyes’ ability to see close objects or small print clearly. It is a normal process that occurs slowly over a lifetime, but a person may only notice changes after the age of 40. Presbyopia is commonly corrected with reading glasses. The other option is bifocal or multifocal glasses that allow the wearer to see both near and distant objects clearly.
These are tiny specks or spots that appear to float across the field of vision. Most people notice them outdoors on a bright day or in a well-lit room. Floaters are often considered normal, but can sometimes point to a more serious eye problem, especially if floaters are seen together with light flashes, or any reduction in your field of view, like a curtain falling over the eye. This may be a condition such as retinal detachment. If you notice a sudden change in the kind or number of spots or flashes you see, it is advisable to visit your Optometrist as soon as possible.
Sometimes our tear glands are not able to make enough tears or produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning, or in severe cases vision loss. Your Optometrist may suggest using a humidifier in your home, special eye drops that simulate real tears, or plugs that are placed in tear ducts to reduce tear drainage.
The eye is like a tyre that generally has a normal and safe pressure. When there is an increase in pressure of the eye often associated with deterioration of the optic nerve this is known as glaucoma. Once damaged, little can be done to repair the nerve to restore sight. Glaucoma can also be caused by other factors like injury to the eye, infection, blocked blood vessels, inflammation. Most people have no early symptoms or pain, so it is very important to get your eyes checked by an optometrist regularly. Treatment may include prescription eye drops or surgery.
The retina is a thin light sensitive lining on the back of the eye made up of cells that collect visual images and pass them on to the brain. The following are common retinal disorders
Diabetic retinopathy – the blood vessels of the retina change, at times they swell and leak fluid or close off completely. In other situations, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.
Retinal detachment- the lining at the back of the eye pulls away from the blood vessels that supply it. This is considered a medical emergency without blood supply the retinal cells starve and permanent blindness can result. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to preserve vision.
Age-related macular degeneration, the macular is the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Carmen Marshall has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult an Optometrist or other healthcare professionals for a diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Views expressed here are personal and do not in any way , shape or form represent the views of organisations that Carmen Marshall works for or is associated with, including ZimShoppingMalls.
Carmen Marshall is an Optometrist who is committed to ongoing professional education, implementing the latest technology, and providing the most current and effective care to her patients. She earned a B.Optom at the then RAU (now UJ) and also holds a diploma in Schools Vision and has attended certified courses on Diabetic Optometry and various Contact Lens Courses. She has international experience and works to a very high standard. She is the owner of a private optometry practice in Harare.