How Your Vision Changes Over Time and Why it’s Important to Visit Your Optometrist
Unless you have naturally perfect vision and have never needed corrective lenses, you are probably aware that your eyes can change over time. Some changes as you age are entirely normal and expected; others are more problematic – yet often preventable. Here is a look at how your vision might change over time and the importance of regular eye exams.
Childhood and adolescence
Good vision is key to a child’s academic success. Kids must perform a wide variety of daily tasks, from reading and writing to viewing chalkboards and using computers. During the school years, the demands on a child’s vision grow as the print in textbooks shrinks and the amount of time spent studying increases.
Learning can be difficult when there are vision problems present. Furthermore, a child may not even realize that there is anything wrong with their vision, so he or she may not be able to tell you. That’s why regular eye exams are so important. It would help if you also kept an eye out for symptoms of a vision problem or eye health issue, such as eye rubbing, frequent blinking, squinting, covering one eye, tilting the head to one side, or frequent headaches.
Related Resources: How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses or Contacts
Young adults typically have good overall eye health and vision. During these years, it’s essential to continue protecting your eyes during everyday activities to avoid worsening vision and delay age-related eye issues for as long as possible. The most common eye issues from the ages of 19 to 40 are eye injuries and visual stress. However, good vision remains critical as you pursue a college degree, establish a career, and perhaps raise a family. To protect your eyes during the young adult years, you can:
- Limit the amount of time you spend on your computer and phone. Continual exposure to the light emitted from these devices can slowly damage your retina.
- Protect your eyes from the sun. UV rays can damage your eyes over time, so be sure to wear sunglasses with both UV-A and UV-B protection as well as a hat or visor.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking exposes your eyes to dangerous chemicals and increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Get regular eye exams. While most young adults enjoy stable vision, problems can develop without noticeable symptoms. Schedule – and stick to – annual eye exams.
In your 40s, 50s, and 60s, you may begin to notice mild to moderate changes in your vision that may progress over time. You may begin having trouble seeing close-ups, as when reading or working at a computer. This occurrence is a normal and expected age-related change known as presbyopia. You may find yourself holding reading materials farther away from your eyes or removing your eyeglasses to see the print better. Switching your prescription to bifocal or multifocal lenses can solve this problem.
It’s important during these years to look after your overall health because it directly affects your vision and eye health. For example, people with certain conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, are more likely to develop age-related eye conditions. So are people who have a family history of macular degeneration or glaucoma and people whose jobs are visually demanding. Be sure to adhere to a schedule of regular eye exams. If you notice any unusual symptoms (fluctuating vision, flashes or floaters, loss of peripheral vision, or distorted vision), contact your eye doctor for an urgent appointment.
60 and beyond
After you turn 60, you are more likely to experience a range of eye diseases that can cause permanent changes to your vision. The earlier you detect these problems, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to treat them effectively and retain good vision for longer. Some common age-related eye diseases include:
Driving a car may also become more challenging during these years. You may have trouble reading road signs, judging distances and speed, perceiving color correctly, or adapting to bright sunlight, for example – and these problems can crop up before you even become aware of any changes in your vision.
Related Resources: 5 Common Age-Related Eye Diseases and Possible Treatment
From early childhood through the senior years, regular eye exams remain consistently important. Your eye doctor can detect many problems before you have symptoms, and early treatment is key to optimal outcomes. Contact us today to make appointments for every member of your family to maximize the odds of healthy eyes and a clear vision for life.
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