Understanding the Aging Eye

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September is Healthy Aging Month, and what better way to celebrate than by focusing on your visual health? Many adults experience symptoms of common conditions such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma as they age. While you may not completely prevent their onset, understanding age-related changes and adopting healthy habits can allow you to enjoy clear vision well into your golden years. Learn more about these common eye conditions and how to enjoy your best vision at every age.


Cataracts occur when the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, causing blurred vision, difficulty seeing in low light, and increased sensitivity to glare. More than half of Americans over the age of 75 either have cataracts or have had surgery to remove cataracts, making the condition a natural part of aging.

Age-related macular degeneration

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It affects the macula, the central part of the retina that’s responsible for sharp, detailed vision. As AMD progresses, it can blur or distort central vision, making everyday activities like reading or recognizing faces more difficult. While there is no cure, prompt treatment can help manage AMD, slow its progression, and sometimes reverse or improve symptoms.


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, often due to increased pressure inside the eye. It can lead to peripheral vision loss and, if left untreated, central vision loss. Sometimes called the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma can go unnoticed by patients until significant damage has occurred—making regular eye exams crucial for early detection and treatment.

Habits for maintaining visual health

While you can’t control certain eye condition risk factors, like age or race, you can reduce your risk of sustaining age-related vision loss. To maintain your best lifelong eye health, try to implement the following rules:

  • Obtain regular eye exams: Annual eye exams are crucial for preventing, detecting, and managing age-related eye conditions. With early diagnosis, we can deliver the best outcomes.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices: Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. Stay hydrated, exercise regularly, manage chronic conditions, and avoid smoking.
  • Protect your eyes: Wear UV-protective sunglasses outdoors, use safety eyewear when necessary, and follow healthy screen time habits to reduce the temporary discomfort of eye strain.
  • Increase your awareness: Be aware of choices that can directly impact your eye health. Take medications as prescribed and always follow contact lens safety tips.

This Healthy Aging Month, give your eyes some extra love. Learn about age-related vision conditions and the healthy habits that can help you enjoy clear eyesight for years. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to combat any age-related conditions that affect your eyes.

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