Cooper & Lourie Family Optometrists  |  Nedlands & Innaloo, Perth
Nedlands 9386 8581   Innaloo 9446 1887

Vision and Ageing

Vision at 40

From 40 onwards, it is normal to experience changes in your vision. You are also at much higher risk of certain eye conditions. While many of these changes or conditions can be easily treated, often you won’t know if you have a serious eye condition, and if left untreated can lead to permanent vision loss.

Symptoms to look out for at 40

  • Blurred text and the need to read the newspaper either at arm’s length or very close to your eyes to see clearer
  • Poor concentration, eye strain, headaches or tiredness from reading or other close work
  • Any unusual changes that may be affecting your eye sight or ability to go about your normal life. Warning signs include spots in your vision, sudden eye pain or redness, distorted and double vision and regularly bumping into or spilling things.

Five major eye conditions among over 40s

Presbyopia– a very normal part of ageing, causing gradual loss of our ability to change the shape of the lens of our eye, to focus at normal reading distance. While presbyopia cannot be prevented, it can be easily treated by using correctly prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses.

Glaucoma – progressive damage to the optic nerve cells, often due to pressure inside the eye, causing loss of peripheral vision. You may not know if you have glaucoma until irreversible damage has been done, so it must be treated early. It can also be hereditary.

AMD (age-related macular degeneration) – central retina deteriorates, distorting central vision. Your chance of developing AMD is much higher if it runs in your family. While it cannot be cured completely, there is some treatment available which must be started early.

Cataract – clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts are very common and can be easily removed and replaced with a plastic lens via surgery.

Diabetic retinopathy – diabetes can start to affect the blood vessels at the back of your eye which can cause serious vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy should be detected and treated early and can require laser treatment.

Advice to over 40s

Know your eyes

Be aware of the health of your eyes and how your vision is affecting your everyday life by learning the warning signs and looking for changes.

Have your eyes tested regularly by an optometrist

You may not know when you have a serious eye condition and after 40 your prescription is likely to change significantly. The earlier eye conditions are detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment and retaining your vision.

If you think you may have a problem with your eyes or vision, consult an optometrist immediately.

Your optometrist can provide a comprehensive eye examination to detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems and to prescribe glasses or contact lenses where required. Eye examinations with an optometrist attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required.

Vision at 60

While ageing affects the health of our eyes, poor eye health should not be accepted as a way of life. There are several predominant eye conditions to look out for from around 60 years of age. You may not know you have a problem until serious, irreversible damage has been done. Among over 60s, vision problems can also increase the likelihood of other problems such as depression and falls.

Some people avoid eye tests because they think that there is nothing that can be done to help their failing vision. However regular eye tests can detect many conditions in their early stages helping you maintain your independence and quality of life.

Four major eye conditions among over 60s

Glaucoma – damage to the optic nerve cells, often due to pressure inside the eye, causing loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma may not always be self detected and must be treated early to prevent progressive and irreversible damage. It can also be hereditary.

Cataract– clouding of the lens inside the eye, usually the result of long-term UV exposure and ageing, causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts are very common and can be easily removed and replaced with a plastic lens by surgery.

AMD (age-related macular degeneration)– central retina deteriorates, distorting close vision. Your chance of developing AMD is much higher if it runs in your family. You may not realise you have AMD until your central vision becomes affected, and while it cannot be cured, there is some treatment available which must be started early.

Diabetic retinopathy– diabetes can start to affect the blood vessels at the back of your eye which can cause serious vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy must be detected and treated early and may require laser treatment.

Driving and vision

Ageing can affect vital aspects of your vision required for safe driving, such as your ability to see clearly at far distances or to see out the corner of your eye and your night vision. This can lead to poor reaction times and misjudment which can seriously affect the safety of yourself and others. In most cases, your optometrist can help you reach the vision standards necessary for safe driving.

Warning signs
Some of the key warning signs for eye conditions include:

  • Spots in your vision
  • Sudden eye pain, discomfort or redness
  • Loss of central vision or edges of your vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Double vision
  • Decreased colour vision
  • Reduced ability to adjust to light changes
Advice to over 60s

Know your eyes

Be aware of the health of your eyes and how your vision is affecting your everyday life by learning the warning signs and looking for changes.

Discuss your concerns

Be sure to talk about any concerns you may have about your eyes and vision with your family and friends.

Get your eyes tested regularly by an optometrist

You may not know when you have a serious eye condition. The earlier eye conditions are detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment and retaining your vision.

If you think you may have a problem with your eyes or vision, consult an optometrist immediately

Your optometrist can provide a comprehensive eye examination to detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems and to prescribe glasses or contact lenses where required. Eye examinations with an optometrist attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required.