• How Your Vision Changes as You Age Diamond Vision

How Your Vision Changes as You Age

Just as our phys­i­cal strength decreas­es with age, our eyes also exhib­it an age-relat­ed decline in per­for­mance — par­tic­u­lar­ly as we reach our 60s and beyond.

Some age-relat­ed eye changes, such as pres­by­opia, are per­fect­ly nor­mal and don’t sig­ni­fy any sort of dis­ease process. While cataracts can be con­sid­ered an age-relat­ed dis­ease, they are extreme­ly com­mon among seniors.

Some of us, how­ev­er, will expe­ri­ence more seri­ous age-relat­ed eye dis­eases that have greater poten­tial for affect­ing our qual­i­ty of life as we grow old­er. These con­di­tions include glau­co­ma, mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion, and dia­bet­ic retinopa­thy.

When Do Age-Related Vision Changes Occur?


After you pass the mile­stone age of 40, you’ll notice it’s more dif­fi­cult to focus on objects up close because of pres­by­opia. This is a per­fect­ly nor­mal loss of focus­ing abil­i­ty due to hard­en­ing of the lens inside your eye.

For a time, you can com­pen­sate for this grad­ual decline in focus­ing abil­i­ty by hold­ing read­ing mate­r­i­al far­ther away from your eyes. But even­tu­al­ly, you will need read­ing glass­es, pro­gres­sive lens­es or mul­ti­fo­cal con­tact lens­es.

Some cor­rec­tive surgery options for pres­by­opia also are avail­able, such as corneal inlays, mono­vi­sion LASIK, con­duc­tive ker­ato­plas­ty and refrac­tive lens exchange.

As you con­tin­ue to age through your 50s and beyond, pres­by­opia becomes more advanced. You may notice the need for more fre­quent changes in eye­glass or con­tact lens pre­scrip­tions. You may also find that a sin­gle pre­scrip­tion is no longer the best solu­tion for all your visu­al needs. As an exam­ple, you may need one pair of eye­glass­es for nor­mal tasks and anoth­er that empha­sizes inter­me­di­ate ranges for work­ing more com­fort­ably at the com­put­er.


Even though cataracts are con­sid­ered an age-relat­ed eye dis­ease, they are so com­mon among seniors that they can also be clas­si­fied as a nor­mal aging change.

Accord­ing to Mayo Clin­ic, about half of all 65-year-old Amer­i­cans have some degree of cataract for­ma­tion in their eyes. As you enter your 70s, the per­cent­age is even high­er. It’s esti­mat­ed that by 2020 more than 30 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will have cataracts.

Thank­ful­ly, mod­ern cataract surgery is extreme­ly safe and so effec­tive that 100 per­cent of vision lost to cataract for­ma­tion usu­al­ly is restored. If you are notic­ing vision changes due to cataracts, don’t hes­i­tate to dis­cuss symp­toms with your eye doc­tor. It’s often bet­ter to have cataracts removed before they advance too far.

How Aging Affects Other Eye Structures

While nor­mal­ly we think of aging as it relates to con­di­tions such as pres­by­opia and cataracts, more sub­tle changes in our vision and eye struc­tures also take place as we grow old­er. These changes include:

Reduced pupil size. As we age, mus­cles that con­trol our pupil size and reac­tion to light lose some strength. This caus­es the pupil to become small­er and less respon­sive to changes in ambi­ent light­ing.

Because of these changes, peo­ple in their 60s need three times more ambi­ent light for com­fort­able read­ing than those in their 20s.

Also, seniors are more like­ly to be daz­zled by bright sun­light and glare when emerg­ing from a dim­ly lit build­ing such as a movie the­ater. Eye­glass­es with pho­tochromic lens­es and anti-reflec­tive coat­ing can help reduce this prob­lem.

Dry eyes. As we age, our bod­ies pro­duce few­er tears. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true for women after menopause. If you begin to expe­ri­ence a burn­ing sen­sa­tion, sting­ing, or oth­er eye dis­com­fort relat­ed to dry eyes, use arti­fi­cial tears as need­ed through­out the day for com­fort, or con­sult your eye doc­tor for oth­er options such as pre­scrip­tion dry eye med­ica­tions.


December 4th, 2017|Comments Off on How Your Vision Changes as You Age

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


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