Common eye conditions when you’re over 40
From the moment we are born the body is ageing, and the decade of our 40s is when most people start to notice some changes in their eyes and vision. It’s a time to start putting your house in order, especially with regards to your health.
While you may not feel ‘old’, your body is aging and this is manifested in various ways. Health issues could crop up and you may need to make some lifestyle changes. Similarly, it is not unusual for eye problems to develop in your 40s, or underlying issues may worsen. These are just a few conditions to bear in mind.
40 is when we start to notice ‘presbyopia’. Presbyopia is part of the normal ageing process, where the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible, preventing us from zooming in and autofocusing on near targets. Even if a person has never had sight problems or needed to wear glasses or contact lenses before, it is more than likely that they will have to at some point during their 40s and beyond. Presbyopia is a perfectly normal condition and affects every single one of us to an extent as we age.
The optic nerve carries images from the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve can lead to a group of related eye diseases, collectively referred to as glaucoma. The most common type of glaucoma is worryingly symptom-free, but without treatment will lead to loss of peripheral vision which can result in blindness. It is slow to progress so will only be found during regular eye checks. Less common types of glaucoma can cause blurred vision, eye pain, nausea and seeing haloes around lights.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to have regular eye checks to look for diabetic changes in the eyes. This includes diabetic retinopathy, where the blood vessels on the retina bleed, which can lead to blindness. Diabetic cataract is also a risk. In addition, those with diabetes are more at risk of eye infections as the eye is slower to heal.
What can you do to help?
Combating eye problems in your 40s is closely linked to living a healthy lifestyle. A few simple steps you can take include:
- Wear sunglasses with adequate UV protection when you step out in the sun
- Wear eye protection if you play sports
- Quit smoking – it’s a risk factor in many eye diseases.
- Exercise will reduce the chances of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases – all risk factors in vision problems.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet including a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens
Many people will choose to start having regular health check-ups when they are over 40. Make sure you include an eye examination as part of your routine health screening. At Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care, we offer an Ultimate Eye Examination that will offer you complete peace of mind.
Our friendly, expert optometrist will put you at ease and explain everything that is happening throughout your eye exam. We use advanced screening techniques such as OCT and Optomap that help us assess the health of your eyes and identify any potential issues as early as possible.
Based on the result of the eye exam, our optometrist will be able to suggest the best course of action. We may recommend appropriate prescription glasses or contact lenses if required. If we detect any other underlying eye conditions or health problems that need be addressed, we will be able to advise you accordingly and support you every step of the way.