With aging, eyesight naturally and gradually declines. The sharpness of objects and the vividness of colors can fade. Many experience a loss of reading vision and other fine detail, requiring reading glasses or other aids. Because of this, annual eye examinations help your eye care specialist to differentiate between natural processes and those triggered by more serious diseases that can potentially cause permanent eyesight damage. Depending on the cause of your vision loss, we will help you find ways to correct, treat, or maintain your vision.
Did you know that you aren’t born seeing perfectly? Just like infants must develop the ability to sit up, crawl, and talk, these abilities take time. Your vision is no different, and it takes even longer to develop than speech and hearing does. An infant’s vision will develop rapidly over the first 8 months of life. However, you may notice that infants are first cross-eyed or their eyes are unable to focus after birth. The ability to focus the eyes and to use both of them together takes time. This is partly because infants can only see objects about 8-12 inches in front of them.
Within the first few weeks, an infant should start to focus on your face if it is close enough to them. By month 3, both eyes will start to work together to make vision clear. You may notice that an infant’s pupil’s—or the black circle of the eye—is larger than normal. This is a sign that the retina is developing, helping an infant to see the differences between light and dark. Infants will be able to tell the difference between high-contrasting shades such as black and white. However, newborns can’t see colors yet. Those nerve cells in the retina have not yet developed, as the eyes were shut and only exposed to dark shades in the womb.
That color vision will develop over the first 5 months of life, and infants will be able to see red first, and other colors will follow. By 8 months, depth perception will develop, infants can see objects in all three dimensions and each month an infant can see farther and farther from their face.
A child’s vision is developing and expanding for the first 10 years of their life. This is a critical time to catch problems with vision development if a child is to succeed with their vision as they age. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are very common with aging, especially in childhood. This is when light focuses in front of, behind or at two separate areas in the eye other than the retina tissue. It leads to blurry vision and can worsen with aging tremendously without corrective eyewear. Catch these problems by investing in eye exams for you or your child starting in infancy.
You can have perfect vision for several decades, only to have it suddenly change after age 40 and even more after age 60. Farsightedness is very common after age 40 and can worsen after 60. You may notice that you may need glasses to see words on a page clearly. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that this is presbyopia (farsightedness), and it means “aging eye”. This happens because aging makes the lens of your eye less flexible and less able to bend light correctly. Glasses and vision help from your eye doctor can help counteract the presbyopia, helping you to see.
That may be the only vision issue you notice for the next 20 years, and it can worsen after age 60. Cataracts, Glaucoma, Diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration are common in millions of Americans after that age. All of these conditions are ones that lead to eye damage to either the retina tissue of the eye or the optic nerve (glaucoma). Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve that’s very hard to detect on your own, but can be halted by detection through eye exams. Left untreated, you will lose peripheral (side) vision with age.
With cataracts, the lens of the eye becomes cloudy with protein, causing blurry vision. However, medications can stop protein buildup and cataracts can be surgically removed. Macular degeneration is when the macula tissue of the eye becomes thinner or blood vessels in the eye damage the macula tissue. This results in loss of clear, central vision. Diabetic retinopathy (in diabetics) is when the condition causes blood vessels in the eye to swell, leak or close up nourishment to your eye nerves.
Many eye diseases happen because the retina tissue of the eye is damaged in some way. Help prevent that and other eye diseases by:
If you want to see how healthy your eyes are—especially if you’re aging—call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 223-0401!