Alamo Optometry Blog

October 1, 2009

Adult Vision Ages 41-60

Filed under: Educational — Tags: — admin @ 11:37 pm

Adult Vision: Ages 41-60

(As appeared in Alamo Today, October 2009, pg. 27)

In our next-to-last installment in our series, we will address vision and eye health issues after ago 40. The most noticeable condition at this point is presbyopia. As those of you in this age range can attest, it is the need for reading and up-close help. In addition, systemic issues like diabetes and hypertension, medications including anti-depressants and antihistamines, and a family history of eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration come into play.
Presbyopia or the “short-arm syndrome”, affects everyone at this time. It may affect some sooner than others, but there will be a point in time when through your distance correction (or no correction if your distance vision is fine), where you will need to address your up-close vision. The key thing to remember is this a completely normal part of the aging process. The decrease in focusing ability is the result of your lens in the middle part of your eye becoming less flexible. This flexibility allows the eye to change focus from near to far objects. For those of you that have never had to wear glasses, it tends to be a little more of a shock, because for the first time in over 40 years, you are having difficulty with vision. For the rest, it is simply a necessary change to your current vision correction. Keep in mind that there are many options for correction including progressive lenses, bifocals, and near-vision only glasses. In contact lens wearers, depending on your correction, bifocal contacts and monovision are always viable possibilities.
Many systemic ailments including diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune diseases, and high cholesterol affect the eyes. A dilated evaluation of the retina allows the only view of the blood vessels without an invasive procedure. Being able to observe the size and appearance of the blood vessels can go a long way in telling whether you might have the disease in question. If you do have a condition, it is a good way to determine how well it is being controlled. The best thing you can do is follow-up with your treating doctor to ensure your treatment plan is successful and to have your eyes checked annually.
Patients do not realize that certain conditions and medications can have a large impact on the eyes. Medications such as antihistamines, any hormone therapy including birth control, and diuretics for high blood pressure can have a drying effect, which can cause blurred and fluctuating vision, and decrease contact lens comfort and wearing time. Some antidepressants can affect focusing ability, and these patients might notice a difficult time reading. Steroids like prednisone, when taken for long periods of time can increase the pressure in the eyes (a possible sign of glaucoma) and lead to premature cataracts. It is paramount that your eye doctor knows all of your medical history including all prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Even though you might not think it is relevant to your eyes, it is very likely that it does.
Lastly, it is around this age that patients’ parents are developing eye issues like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Our patients are obviously concerned for their loved ones, but are also concerned for themselves. These diseases do have a genetic component; however, it is not absolute. It does not mean that you will also be afflicted, but it does mean that you need to be more vigilant in your overall health and eye care to help ensure if something does develop, it will be caught early and treated aggressively.
Patients in this age group have both visual and health issues to be addressed. Whether it is presbyopia, dry eyes, or diabetes management and detection, your eye doctor should be a major part of your overall care. Our office is well-equipped to assess and recommend options for all of your vision and medical needs; and when a referral to a specialist is required, we have a local network of qualified doctors to help.

Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 925-820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our website at: ww.alamooptometry.com.

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