A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. It affects your vision. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all people in the United States either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Common symptoms are
• Blurry vision
• Colors that seem faded
• Not being able to see well at night
• Double vision
• Frequent prescription changes in your eye wear
Cataracts usually develop slowly. New glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help at first. Surgery is also an option. It involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataracts.
Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve. It is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It usually happens when the fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, damaging the optic nerve. Often there are no symptoms at first, but a comprehensive eye exam can detect it.
People at risk should get eye exams at least every two years. They include
• African Americans over age 40
• People over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
• People with a family history of glaucoma
Early treatment can help protect your eyes against vision loss. Treatments usually include prescription eye drops and/or surgery.
Macular degeneration or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. You need central vision to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.
AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision.
Information from Medline Plus and the National Institutes of Health
Three Most Common Eye Conditions In People Over 60