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Blurry Vision after 60

Blurry Vision after 60?

For many people, one of the sure signs that age is catching up is the blurring of vision. This typically starts to happen after 60 years of age and for some, may progress to the point that lifestyle gets affected. Daily chores like reading, cooking and driving may get progressively more difficult to do.

It may be associated with glares and reduced contrast sensitivity.

What could be going on?

The most common and sight threatening causes are:

(1) Cataract

(2) Glaucoma and

(3) Age related Macula Degeneration (AMD)

Cataracts

Cataracts describe a degenerative aging process whereby the natural lens in our eyes become cloudy and is the most common preventable cause of blindness in the world. The type and severity of the cataract will determine to what extent it is able to affect the vision. While most people complain of blurred vision and reduced sharpness of image, some may simply complain of glaring of vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is time to see an ophthalmologist.

The only treatment for a cataract is surgery. Most cataract surgeries today are done by a method known as ‘phacoemulsification’. The ophthalmologist uses specialized equipment to break up and remove the cataract followed by implantation of an artificial lens. It is a safe and effective technique and once done, ensures cataracts will not come back.

Many patients have asked when is the best time to get their cataracts removed with the assumption that perhaps the cataract has to ‘mature’ or ‘ripen’ prior to removal. In actual fact, there is no need to wait as long as the cataract is affecting your daily activities, it should be taken out. The key reason is that cataracts will get worse with time and any delay will only impact lifestyle further.

Glaucoma

Called the ‘silent thief of sight‘, this condition can actually occur as early as 40 years old but more often is seen in older individuals. It occurs when pressure within the eye builds up leading to nerve damage and blindness. It is crucial to detect glaucoma at early stages to prevent irreversible damage from occurring. So how can a person know  he or she has glaucoma? Simple, an eye check with your ophthalmologist will rule out glaucoma. The eye doctor may check your the pressure within your eye (intraocular pressure), and examine other indicators of eye health like the optic disc and testing the visual field.

Who has a higher risk of acquiring glaucoma? Anyone more than 40 years old, people with a family history of glaucoma or diabetics. Treatment of glaucoma requires topical anti glaucoma eye drops and in advanced cases may need surgery.

Age related Macula Degeneration (AMD)

This is an age related degenerative process affecting the macula, which is the most sensitive part of the retina. The progress of the disease can be very slow and subtle. Patients with this condition may start to perceive straight lines as being crooked or wavy. A person may notice straight lines have become crooked or wavy, faces may appear distorted, increasing difficulty in reading despite wearing glasses. All these could be early symptoms of AMD.

There are two types of AMD; ;dry’ and ‘wet’ (neovascular; literally meaning ‘new vessel growth’). The latter has a more devastating prognosis because the growth of vessels leads to increased risk of bleeding under the retina leading to scarring of the retinal tissues. Ophthalmologists can use various medications in an attempt to slow the progression of neovascular AMD. These medications (Anti-VEGF injection therapy) can block the abnormal vessel growth underneath the retina.

Most of eye diseases can be prevented with prompt examination and treatment. If you have a strong family history of this condition or if you smoke cigarettes, you will be at higher risk for developing this condition. If you fall into this category, don’t delay, get your eyes examined today.

Finally, what can you do to protect your eyes. Start by practicing a healthy lifestyle by consuming a nutritious diet consisting of plenty of green leafy vegetables, fish, adequate water and of course, regular exercise is essential. Don’t waste too much time staring at computer screens, get outdoors more, spend more time with your family and friends and of course do routine yearly eye check ups.

Healthier Eyes, Happier Life.

Article by, 

Dr. A Thirupathy Annamalai

MBBS (Manipal), M.Surg (Ophthal) (Malaya)

Specialty:

Ophthalmology 眼科专科

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