It’s discouraging to know that your vision is worse than it was yesterday. Perhaps even more discouraging is realizing that your eyesight only worsens as you grow older. It’s natural to experience a slight but gradual change in your vision as you grow older. Eyesight issues become notably worse after passing 40, although they may manifest earlier for some people.
This age-related vision deterioration happens because of changes in the lens of the eye that makes it increasingly inflexible. As a result, the lens focuses light behind the retina instead of on it, thus making it harder to focus on nearby objects.
A cataract is another common cause of age-related vision problems. This is when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy due to protein clumping, causing blurry vision.
You can’t stop your eyesight from getting worse due to aging. Fortunately, several vision correction methods can help you see more clearly, thus improving your quality of life. Here are the most preferred options, plus their pros and cons.
Common Vision Correction Options
Prescription eyeglasses are the most common type of vision correction. They work by bending light rays enabling the eye’s lens to focus them precisely on the retina. With the right prescription, eyeglasses help correct common refractive errors, such as hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism.
- Eyeglasses are generally more affordable than contact lenses and refractive surgery.
- Most people find them quick and easier to use because they don’t require sticking something in your eyes.
- Because they sit on the bridge of the nose, they are less likely to cause eye infections.
- Like sunglasses, prescription eyeglasses can add to your personality and fashion statement.
- Eyeglasses with thick frames tend to limit the wearer’s peripheral vision
- The weight on the bridge of the nose and the pressure on top of your ears may cause discomfort
- It’s frustrating when the lenses fog up
Contact lenses- known as contacts- are thin, curved discs you put inside the eye on top of the cornea. These lenses are clear and work like eyeglasses to correct vision problems associated with the eyes’ ability to refract light correctly. Contacts are medical devices, meaning you need a valid prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist to purchase them.
- They provide a full field of view because they don’t have a frame to obstruct your vision
- Unlike eyeglasses, contact lenses don’t fog up or get water spots
- Comfortable to wear because they don’t add weight on your nose or pressure on your ears
- Great for active people because they won’t slip off or bounce
- Contact lenses are less noticeable, so they don’t scream poor eyesight
- Contacts generally are pricier than eyeglasses, although discount contact lenses can work out to be more affordable still.
- Except for dailies, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly contacts require proper care for the comfort and eye health.
- It can be uncomfortable at first.
LASIK is a laser eye surgery used to correct common vision problems, including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. During LASIK eye surgery, the eye surgeon numbs the eye and then uses a special cutting laser to reshape the cornea.
- Patients start seeing clearly relatively fast
- Guarantees total freedom because there are no broken or lost glasses or contacts to clean.
- Although it presents some risks, LASIK surgery is much safer than it was before
- LASIK is a painless surgical process and only lasts 20-30 minutes.
- LASIK may not be ideal for people with presbyopia, glaucoma, or severe cases of refractive error
- Has a high upfront cost
Signs That You Need Vision Correction
Eyesight deterioration is common, and it happens to everyone. However, because it happens slowly and gradually, it’s possible to live with poor vision for decades and not realize it until things get worse.
Check out the following signs if you’re unsure whether you need vision correction. This list is not conclusive, though. If you experience a significant change in your sight, it’s in your best interest to schedule an eye examination soon.
Blurred Close-up Vision
Blurry vision is when objects appear out of focus, so they are not as sharp as you’d want them to be. When this happens, you may see yourself squinting or rubbing your eyes to see fine details. Blurred vision may signify farsightedness, short-sightedness, astigmatism and cataracts. It may also be a symptom of an underlying health condition, for instance, diabetes.
Cloudy or clouded vision is often confused with blurry vision. Cloudy vision is when objects appear foggy. This condition makes it appear as if you’re gazing through a fog. Common causes of clouded vision include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), floaters and eye injury, infection and inflammation. Other causes of cloudy vision include Fuch’s dystrophy, diabetic retinopathy and posterior capsule opacification (PCO).
Halos Around Lights
Do you see bright rings of light around a light source, such as headlamps or bulbs? They are halos and may be normal or a cause for concern. You may experience halos as a side effect of wearing contacts or after a LASIK eye surgery.
For contact wearers, halos may be a normal response of the eye or a result of extended wearing. Halos after LASIK surgery are rare but should not worry you. Typically, they disappear in two to three weeks.
But remember that halos can also be a sign of other eye vision problems, including cataracts, Fuch’s dystrophy, keratoconus and glaucoma.
Pressure Behind Your Eyes
Pressure behind the eyes is another sign that you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Not to cause alarm, pressure behind the eyes may be due to common causes, such as headaches, sinus infection, graves’ disease and dry eyes. But it’s important to realize that pressure buildup inside the eye is generally linked to glaucoma (one of the leading causes of blindness in the US).
Diplopia is when you see a single object in twos. It’s also called double vision. This condition may affect one eye (monocular diplopia) or both (binocular diplopia). Diplopia can be down to minor causes, such as fatigue or stress. It might also be a result of ill-fitting eyeglasses or contacts. But it can also signify cataracts, astigmatism, dry eye syndrome and iris abnormalities.
Note that there are other causes of binocular diplopia, including stroke, brain tumor, migraine headache and brain aneurysm. That’s why it’s vital to have your eyes checked if you have persisting double vision.