Vision Problems: Types & Symptoms To Look Out For5 min read
Coping with long-sightedness and other vision problems after 40.
So the other day, I was having my usual teh-o at the kopitiam with my buddy Yam Tong. I was catching up on the latest news on my phone when he suddenly said, “Eh bro. You also got Long Arm Syndrome huh?”
I was confused for a moment sia and quickly looked at my arms. They look normal to me leh! Catching the blur look on my face, Yam Tong laughed loudly, “Bro, you know when you can’t see well anymore and you need to hold your phone a distance away to see properly?” Aiyah, that guy was talking about long-sightedness. That cheeky fella!
But it’s true la. Once you turn 40, you start getting all sorts of eyesight problems. Don’t worry, you’re not going blind — it’s perfectly normal for our vision to change with age. Let Uncle Tng share with you some of the common eye issues that happen after 40, plus what you can do to protect your eyes and keep them healthy!
Presbyopia - when words become blur like sotong
As we become older, we may find it harder to focus on things that are close up, like the text on your phone. This happens because the lens of our eye naturally becomes harder with age, losing its ability to change shape. It is a common occurrence for people in their 40s to 60s, and can be easily corrected by picking up a pair of reading glasses. Don’t shy – just visit your local optician and they will be able to advise you!
Cataracts - when everything starts looking cloudy
When our eye tissues start to age, the proteins in our eye lens can start to clump, which causes vision to become cloudy. You may also start seeing blurry splotches, and find that colours appear less vibrant. As with presbyopia, prescription glasses can treat most of these conditions. For more serious cases, a simple surgery can solve the problem, where your eye’s lens will be replaced with an artificial one. Cool, right? Macam robot like that.
Glaucoma - check before it’s too late
OK no more joking – this one actually quite serious. For people over 40, damage to your optic nerve can occur when pressure within your eye grows due to fluid not being able to drain from the eye properly. This leads to blurry peripheral vision and might even cause blindness!
Unfortunately, many cases of glaucoma are asymptomatic and often go undetected until irreversible damage has happened. So tolong, please visit your eye doctor regularly, especially if your family has a history of glaucoma!
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - early prevention is your best defense
This one lagi more serious. If your vision contains blind spots, please see your doctor immediately! The small middle part of the retina, which is called the macula – not dracula ok – may deteriorate with age, causing blind spots to form in the centre of your vision. If left untreated, AMD can cause permanent damage to your vision. There is no cure for AMD, but if detected early, it can be treated with nutritional supplements and exercise.
Jialat lah, then like that how?
Don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to improve the health of your eyes, even as we become older – so you can maintain good vision for years to come!
Img source: Unsplash
Regular eye exams
Visit your eye doctor every 2 years for a professional eye examination. Remember, eye problems could develop without any signs or symptoms, and you may be at higher risk if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease.
Eat well, live well, sleep well
Choose foods rich in antioxidants, leafy vegetables and fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula. Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation, which increases oxygen levels to the eyes and helps remove toxins. And of course, getting at least 7 hours of sleep will greatly support your eye health.
Protect your eyes
As we use digital devices more each day at work and home, our eyes are exposed to high energy blue light. Reducing their use is crucial to eye health. When outside, wear a pair of sunglasses that can block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. A wide-brim hat can also reduce the amount of UV radiation slipping around the side of your sunglasses.
Don’t worry, it’s just part of life
Eye conditions are a natural part of aging, and there are a range of options to help you see clearly again. Just talk to your doctor or optician to find out more about the treatments available to you!