The Aging Eye

As we age, our eyes do as well. Signs and symptoms of aging in the eye manifests in the early to mid 40’s and typically deteriorates over time. Here are some of the ways our eyes and vision change as we get older.

Last Updated: November 9, 2023

Can’t focus

The lenses in our eyes becoming less flexible as we age, making it difficult to adjust our focus to read and view objects nearby. Proper glasses or contact lens prescriptions can correct issues associated with reading small font and can help prevent eyestrain.

Difficulty distinguishing certain colours

Is that blue or green? The cells in our eyes that control the way we see colour become less sensitive as we age, which results in less colour vibrancy. This makes it more difficult to distinguish certain colour shades.

Difficulty adjusting to lighting changes

Adjusting to changes in lighting conditions can take two to three times longer than it did when we were younger. For example, it will take a moment to adjust when going out on a sunny day or walking into a dimly lit theatre.

Need for increased lighting

Our pupil size become smaller and less responsive to changes in light conditions as we age, which means our eyes require more light than they once did to see clearly.

More dry eyes

As we get older, the tear glands in our eyes produce less tears leading to more frequent occurrence of dry eyes. Blurry vision, red eyes, irritation, eyestrain and headaches may result from dry eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see an optometrist.

Worsened glare

Glare happens when light enters the eye such that it interferes with vision. Symptoms of sensitivity and intolerance to glare increases with age. Special lenses, sunglasses and even surgery may be required to deal with glare. Your optometrist can help determine which solution is best for you.

Ocular diseases

Cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are the common eye conditions that are more prevalent with increased age. These conditions affect activities of daily living and are the leading causes of vision impairment.

To prevent or delay the onset of age-related eye, wear UV protective sunglasses, maintain a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, and exercise regularly. Visit your optometrist to get your eyes checked on a routine basis.


  1. Lin JB et al. A glimpse at the aging eye. NPJ Aging Mech of Dis. 2016;2(1):1-7
  2. Rasmussen HM et al. Nutrients for the aging eye. Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:741.


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