The Aging Eye

As we grow older, our eyes might not show visible signs of aging, however, the same cannot be said for their functionality. Typically, beginning in the early to mid-40’s, the eyes begin to deteriorate, a situation that becomes more pronounced as we age.

Here are some of the ways our eyes and vision change as we get older:

  • 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.
  • Changes in light levels.  Adjusting to changes in light levels (eg, going out into, or coming in from, a sunny day, or walking into a dimly lit theatre or restaurant) can take two to three times longer than it did when we were younger.  
  • Fewer tears.  As we get older, the tear glands in our eyes produce fewer tears leading to more frequent stints of dry eyes and irritation.  Blurry vision, eye fatigue and headaches may be the result of dry eye, and a sign you should see your optometrist.
  • More light please. With age, our pupil sizes become smaller and less responsive to changes in light conditions, which means our eyes require more light than they once did to see clearly. Good lighting at home and at work help to prevent falls associated with poor lighting.
  • Increase the font size. Small font sizes become a thing of the past as we age, the result of the lenses in our eyes becoming less flexible, making near objects less clear and more difficult to focus on. Proper eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions can correct issues associated with reading small font and can help prevent eyestrain.
  • Turn down the glare. Glare is light that enters the eye and interferes with vision. Special lenses, sunglasses and even surgery can be required to deal with glare.  Your optometrist can help determine which solution is best for you.
  • Ocular diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can lead to vision impairment and affect activities of daily living. Visit your optometrist regularly to manage your eye health and vision care.