Local News

Dealing with the challenges of changing eye conditions as we age

March has been delegated as "Save Your Vision Month."

As we age, there are significant gradual changes that occur, including reduced pupil size, dry eyes, loss of peripheral vision, decreased color vision and vitreous detachment.

There are many age-related eye changes including presbyopia (difficulty with near vision focus) that are normal and don't inherently signify any sort of disease process.

Though eye conditions may be challenging, there are several things that can be done about age-related vision changes:

1. Maintaining a healthy diet and wise lifestyle choices, including not smoking and incorporating some form of exercise in your daily routine.

2. Having regular exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Safeguarding your vision as you age can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life.

You may not realize that health problems affecting other parts of your body can affect your vision as well. Individuals with diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), or those taking medications that have eye-related side effects, are at the greatest risk for developing vision problems.

Therefore, regular eye exams are even more important as you reach your senior years. The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye examinations for everyone over age 60.

For more information, including resources to access free medical eye care, call Ingra Gardner at (863) 382-2134 or email gardneri@nuhope.org.

Ingra Gardner is the executive director of NU-HOPE Elder Care Services, the designated Lead Agency of Home and Community Based Services of Highlands and Hardee counties.