Older Adults Are At Risk For Specific Eye Problems

As our eyes age, they become more susceptible to certain conditions, some of which can be quite serious if left untreated. One in 6 adults over the age of 45 has some sort of vision problem, according to Harvard Medical Center. Below are some of the more common ailments affecting older Americans.

AMD - The leading cause of vision loss in older Americans is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which occurs when part of the retina deteriorates. More than 13 million Americans suffer from AMD*. AMD affects the center of the vision and, as a result, impacts daily activities like driving, reading and doing close work.

Cataract - One of the most common vision ailments in older adults is cataract, which affects about half of Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Eye Institute. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most widely performed procedures in the United States*. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that though persons between 52 and 65 have a 50% chance of getting a cataract, symptoms often don't show up until later.

Floaters - Another common problem in older adults is "floaters," or clusters of cells that have separated from the clear fluid inside the eye. About 25% of people experience floaters by their 60s, and about 65% of people experience them by their 80s, according to Harvard Medical School. It is important to have an eye examination if you have floaters, as they could be the result of a more serious condition like a detached retina.

Having your eyes examined annually (or at the frequency recommended by your doctor) will allow these conditions to be discovered early, potentially saving you from total vision loss.

*Harvard Medical School, The Aging Eye, 2000


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