Aging and the Risk of Retinal Diseases
The eyes are complex structures that focus light and transfer it to signals that are sent to the brain, where an image is processed. For a person to enjoy clear vision, all the parts of the eye need to be healthy.
The retina (the thin layer of tissues at the back of the eye) is especially vital to clear eyesight. Unfortunately, aging increases the risk of retinal diseases. Retinal diseases compromise vision and can lead to blindness.
At Retina Associates, LLC, we can diagnose retinal diseases for our Lenexa, KS, patients, and provide treatment that will help preserve clear vision as our patients get older.
How Aging Affects the Eyes
As with any other part of the body, the tissues within the eye gradually change as a person ages. Many changes are a natural part of the aging process, and are not a huge cause for concern. For instance, as a person ages, the lens of the eye thickens and becomes less flexible. This commonly leads to presbyopia, a loss of close-up vision. Once a person reaches their 40s, the risk of presbyopia significantly increases, but this condition can be corrected with the use of reading glasses.
Other changes within the eye can be more harmful. Aging can damage tissues and lead to the development of eye diseases. Eye diseases often cause irreparable harm. It is important that our Shawnee patients regularly monitor their eye health so that any age-related diseases can be treated before there is permanent vision loss.
Retinal Diseases Linked to Aging
There are a wide range of eye diseases that can compromise vision, and many of them have been linked to aging. Age-related eye diseases that specifically affect the retina include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is an incurable eye disease that is a leading cause of vision loss in America. This condition develops when the central part of the retina, or the macula, deteriorates. AMD compromises central vision and makes it difficult for people to process fine details.
Diabetic retinopathy is a potential complication of diabetes. This condition causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina that can lead to minor visual disturbances and eventual blindness. Although diabetic retinopathy is a direct result of uncontrolled blood sugar, the risk of this disease increases as a person ages.
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina suddenly breaks away from the back of the eye. Retinal detachment can cause flashes, floaters, blurred vision, or a shadowy appearance over the field of vision. If not treated promptly, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss. There are many potential causes of retinal detachment, but aging is a known risk factor.
Taking Steps to Preserve Vision
Age-related retinal diseases cannot always be prevented. However, by taking some proactive steps, our Shawnee patients can promote eye health and make it easier to diagnose and treat eye diseases before there is permanent damage.
Increase the frequency of comprehensive eye exams as you age
- Report any unusual symptoms as soon as possible
- Maintain a diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients
- Wear UV protective eyewear when in the sun
- Refrain from smoking
- Manage any other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease
Schedule Your Evaluation Today
Our medical doctors are all regional leaders in the field of eye care. Retina detachments can occur for a variety of reasons, but the injury should be treated as an emergency. If you experience any of the symptoms we have discussed, please contact our Lenexa office online or at (913) 831-7400 immediately. We will treat your symptoms as an eye emergency and will schedule you accordingly. Prompt action can protect your vision from possibly irreversible damage.