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Primary Eye Care Associates

When Do Common Eye Conditions Develop?

By Dr. Steven Chander on July 21, 2017

A woman at an eye examYour vision can be affected by a wide range of factors, though age is perhaps the most important of these to consider. Age is something that we keep in mind when patients visit our Chicago vision correction practice, and it plays an important role in diagnosis and treatment.

With that in mind, we'd like to go over some common eye conditions and consider the age when symptoms and other warning signs may start to show up. This will help you understand when eye problems occur and why regular eyes exams are crucial, especially as you get older.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are a common problem caused by light improperly focusing on the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As a result, vision is not as clear as it could be. You may know refractive errors better by these names:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

Refractive errors can show up at any age, though they tend to be first detected in childhood. Generally, a person's vision stabilizes by their twenties.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia refers to a condition in which the lens of the eye hardens. This makes it more difficult to see objects up close. This age-related form of farsightedness tends to start in middle age, and become more pronounced the older a patient becomes. Presbyopia is an unavoidable part of the natural aging process.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the clear lens of the eye becomes clouded or foggy. This might be the result of an eye injury, long-term UV ray exposure, an eye condition, or long-term wear and tear on the eyes.

Since there are so many causes of cataracts, they can technically occur at any age. In fact, there is a rare form of the condition in which babies are born with cataracts. If cataracts form on their own, they tend to show up in middle age and onward. Keep in mind that cataracts will develop gradually, starting with just light clouding before becoming more severe.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside of a person's eye (intraocular pressure) is too high. The increased pressure can lead to damage on the optic nerve, vision loss, and eventual blindness. Glaucoma is incurable, but treatments can help stop or slow down the rate of vision loss a patient experiences.

Glaucoma tends to be most common in people who are age 40 or older. That said, there is a rare congenital form of glaucoma that can affect infants as well.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a form of vision loss that affects the macula, the central portion of the retina. There are two kinds of AMD: dry macular degeneration (80 percent of all cases) and wet macular degeneration (less common, but more severe).

Macular degeneration is most common in people starting around age 50, becoming more likely and/or worse as people get older. Treatments can slow down the rate of vision loss.

Dry Eye

Dry eye can cause irritation, discomfort, and reduced vision during a bout with the condition. It's been estimated at almost half of the adult population of America experiences dry eye to some degree. Dry eye becomes much more likely with advanced age, with people 50 years old and older more likely to experience a dry eye attack.

Learn More About Advanced Eye Care

For more information about treating conditions that can affect your vision quality and overall quality of life, be sure to contact our experienced vision and eye doctors today. Our team looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.

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