Your Eyesight After 40
As you approach your 40th birthday, you have probably noticed the effects of aging on your skin, hair and waistline. But are you familiar with how age affects your eyes? Knowing what to expect from your eyes after 40 can help you cope with these changes as they occur. Read on as the team of experienced eye doctors at Intracoastal Eye provide an overview of your eyesight after 40.
It’s not just your joints that become stiffer with age. When you are young, your eye’s lens is thin and flexible. It works with the surrounding muscles to shift forward or backward, allowing you to focus on objects at different distances. But after the age of 40, your lens starts to lose elasticity and can no longer move as much as it once did to focus at different distances. You will find it becomes particularly difficult for your eyes to focus on nearby objects like reading materials.
This age-related decline in reading vision is called presbyopia, and it explains why you may need more light to read a book or newspaper or why you hold the material further away in order to read the small text. Presbyopia is completely normal and very common. In fact, it is practically a given that every adult will develop presbyopia after his or her 40th birthday.
Another vision condition that is extremely common and nearly unavoidable with advancing age is cataracts. Cataracts occur when the proteins that make up your eye’s lens clump together, forming cloudy areas. Cataracts interfere with light entering the eye, blurring your vision and causing glare, halos around lights and diminished color vision. Cataracts develop slowly and the symptoms usually become apparent sometime after the age of 60.
Caring for Your Eyes as You Age
The effects of presbyopia and cataracts come on slowly. It is not as if you will wake up one morning and not be able to see anything clearly. Your vision will change incrementally, and it will be difficult to identify exactly when the shift started.
Eye exams are important at any age, but particularly crucial as you reach your 40s, 50s and 60s to monitor your changing eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends you have a baseline eye exam at the age of 40. Depending on the results of your exam, your eye doctor can tell you how frequently to have subsequent exams. You may need to schedule exams every year or every two years. After you turn 55, you should have eye exams annually or as recommended, depending on your eye health and any individual risk factors.
Eye exams check for signs of conditions that target older adults — including presbyopia and cataracts — as well as other problems that cannot be blamed on these common conditions. If an eye exam confirms presbyopia or cataracts, rest assured that these conditions are very treatable.
To request a comprehensive eye exam with the team at Intracoastal Eye, we invite you to call or email us today.