Your vision changes drastically when you turn 40. Here is a look at common vision problems that affect middle aged people.
The need for bifocals
Most people in their 40s cannot see objects closer to the eye. They will probably need to wear bifocals. Just like any other part of the body, eyes also wear out over the years.
Burning, itchy eyes
Hormonal changes can cause dry eyes. This problem mainly affects women aged 40 or above. When you blink, it distributes tears around the eyes. It is this process that keeps the eyes moist. When the eyes do not produce enough tears, they can itch.
Dry eyes can affect everybody. Women over 40 are particularly at risk. Hormone replacement therapy will not help. Actually, women who take estrogen, have a higher risk of developing dry eyes.
Artificial gels, tears and ointments may help. There are also lenses specifically formulated for dry eyes. Scleral lenses, for example, cover the white of the eyes and can be helpful even in severe cases. A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may also help.
Floaters and flashes
Floaters are normal if you are over 40, but sudden changes can indicate a serious problem. Our eyes are filled with a gel-like substance. As we age, it may shrink and release tiny clumps of debris and cells. These floating debris and cells will cast shadows inside the eyes. This gives us the impression that things are ‘floating’ into the view. Floaters can resemble circles, dots, clouds or lines. As the gel shrinks further, it can pull on the retina. This may create lighting streaks or flashes.
Floaters are much more common among people who have had an eye surgery or who are nearsighted. If you notice abrupt symptoms you may require urgent care.
This is another problem that affects middle aged people. As you cross 40, the lens of your eyes may get stiff. This will reduce their ability to focus. As a result you may find it difficult or impossible to read text at a normal distance. Over the counter reading glasses may help. If they don’t, you should consult your doctor.
Difficulty driving at night
This could be caused by a cataract. As we age, proteins within the lens of our eyes begin to clump. This will cloud our vision. High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, family history and smoking can all increase your risk of developing cataract. Aging is another major factor. Prescription glasses may help in the initial stages, but as the vision becomes cloudier you will need surgery.