Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 2

Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 2

Age-related changes

Even if you manage to avoid serious ailments, with age gradual and barely noticeable changes anyway occur in your body. For example, the pupil decreases in size, which limits the amount of light incoming into the eye. A crystal clear lens of the eye gradually turns yellow, losing its transparency and acting like a filter for the camera, which absorbs some part of the light. This usually leads to essential reduction in the quantity and color intensity of light reaching the retina.

In addition, at a younger age photoreceptors, contained in retina (rods and cones) were positioned close to each other, now their density has decreased so less and less relevant cells can respond to the falling on the retina light. All these factors lead to the fact that, according to research, a person at the age of 80 requires 10 times more light than a twenty-five year old.

With age the ability of the eye to adapt to darkness and restore vision in bright light decrease greatly. Most of all this affects the color vision and vision in darkness, as both of them depend on the illumination intensity.

Against this background, many serious eye diseases are developing in elderly people. In the previous article we described two of them, cataract and glaucoma. In this article we will talk about age-related macular degeneration, which may lead to a complete blindness, and about diabetic retinopathy.

Age-related macular degeneration
Macula is a small part of retina that is most sensitive to light and allows you to see the smallest details. To clearly see something, you automatically turn the eyes so that the image falls exactly on the macula, and for the clearest distinction of details they need to get to the central macular fosse. Macular degeneration is an atrophy of macula. Also being, in fact, a nervous tissue of the brain, retina is particularly sensitive to a decrease in blood flow and / or bleeding.

In this case (decrease in blood flow and / or bleeding), the macula loses some of its ability to distinguish the image, which may lead to a slight or even severe impairment of vision. In old age exactly macular degeneration is one of the main causes of visual deterioration.

If the problem is in the rupture of a blood vessel, in this case laser therapy can advantageously be applied to block it, on the condition that the vessel is not too close to the macula. If the problem is the insufficient blood supply, the direct way to influence it does not exist. There is some evidence that in this case some certain diets are useful, for example, products with a high content of zinc and antioxidant vitamins.

In people with this disease, blindness rarely develops, but a sharp reduction of visual acuity develops. This disease deprives a person from the ability to read, drive and perform many other everyday functions. Additionally, the ability to distinguish shades disappears.

Approximately 46% of people over 75 years old may have different stages of this disease. Similarly to cataract and glaucoma this disease can be inherited.
Giving up smoking, in case if you are a smoker, will give a great chance to slow down the course of the disease or to reduce greatly the chances of its development!

Diabetic retinopathy
A person can get sick with diabetes at any age, but complications with vision are usually seen in older age, they have the ability to “accumulate”. Patients with diabetes, who do not see a doctor or “deceive themselves” with diets or drugs, risks to lose their eyesight. When a person has diabetes, the tiny blood vessels of the ocular fundus are affected – they clog, bleed, form a messy accumulation. This phenomenon is called diabetic retinopathy, and it often leads to blindness. In this case, laser treatments are successfully used. People with diabetes are also more prone to cataracts.

People with diabetes may have the following effects:
1. Rapid changes in vision or experiencing difficulty reading, which may happen in days or weeks. They are usually caused by a change or an increase in the sugar content in blood.
2. When looking at the brightly lit areas some spots appear. This is often a sign of bleeding in the eye or it may also indicate a retinal detachment.
3. Loss of some portions of the field of vision. The cause of this may be the tissues’ swelling due to local bleeding.

All these diseases are very serious, and can lead to visual disability, if they are not timely detected and an appropriate treatment isn’t started. It is therefore extremely important at the slightest visual impairment or unexplained symptoms to visit an eye specialist.

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