Ageing And The Eyes: Visual Problems In The Elderly

Ageing And The Eyes: Visual Problems In The Elderly
Ageing And The Eyes: Visual Problems In The Elderly

With the passage of time, the vision begins to undergo changes. For some people, these may be minor and just require adjustment, such as the use of reading glasses.

However, for other people, vision problems that are associated with age could be more important than we think, causing vision to decrease and with it, their quality of life.

Therefore, today we at JL Rohatgi Hospital will analyze several of the visual problems in the elderly and their treatments.

Major age-related vision problems


It is the term designated to the loss of vision of near objects caused by age. This happens due to the hardening of the lens, which makes it difficult to focus on objects.

The main symptoms include:

  • Difficulty reading small print.
  • Need more light to read.
  • Keep reading materials farther away from your eyes.

This visual problem usually appears after the age of 40. The treatments that exist for presbyopia or tired eyesight are the use of glasses or contact lenses, and surgery.

Low vision

This condition makes vision difficult even when wearing corrective lenses or any standard treatment. Low vision could make it difficult to do daily activities.

There are various degrees of low vision. Some people have difficulty seeing fine details or recognizing faces and others are limited to only seeing objects at a long distance.

For low vision, some recommend the use of magnifying glasses or special lenses to maximize the ability to see. On the other hand, this evil is produced by a series of diseases caused by old age such as macular degeneration.


These are tiny spots or threads that are initially harmless and occur as a result of normal ageing-associated changes in the vitreous (gelatinous fluid that fills the back of the eyes).

In the event that the changes in floaters are few or gradual, there is nothing to worry about.

On the contrary, if the person notices an increase in the number of spots that appear in the field of vision, it is necessary to have a check-up with the oculist since it could be something more serious such as retinal detachment, for example.

Excessive tearing

Also called “excess tears”, it happens when the person is sensitive to light, wind or temperature changes. As an aid, sunglasses can help, as can the periodic use of eye drops.

In some situations, excessive tearing in the eyes could be due to another more serious problem such as an infection.


This is a fairly common disease and closely related to ageing. It is a generally acquired condition, which responds to different causes, among the most frequent is: chronic inflammation of the eyelid edge (blepharitis or meibomitis).

The person who suffers from it begins to lose elasticity in the eyelid, causing the eyelashes to grow towards the inner part of the eye. This can cause the eyelashes to begin to rub against the cornea or conjunctiva (a thin layer that is on the inside of the eyelids ), thus generating annoying irritation, redness, tearing, and sensitivity to light.

Eye diseases in older adults


It is the result of a breakdown of proteins produced in the lens due to aging. This vision problem in the elderly causes more blurred or cloudy vision.

If the cataract problem interferes with a person’s daily life, it is necessary to go to an ophthalmological consultation for a review. According to the analysis, it is possible to undergo a surgical operation, the purpose of which is to change the cloudy lens to an artificial one.


One of the main causes of blindness in people over 60 years of age is glaucoma. Normally, this eye problem occurs when the fluid fails to drain properly, causing eye pressure to gradually build up, and causing damage to the optic nerve.

The tricky thing about glaucoma is that it is painless and stealthy, which is why it is known in some parts as the “silent thief of sight.” If not intervened in time, it is possible to cause considerable loss of peripheral vision and, in some cases, total blindness.

Retinal detachment

It happens when the retina becomes detached from the underlying support at the back of the eye. As people age, the vitreous or gelatinous fluid in the centre of the eye begins to undergo texture changes and shrinks.

In some cases, this causes the retina to detach. Such a detachment does not hurt, but if left untreated for a long time, it can cause total eye loss.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes can lead to a vision condition called diabetic retinopathy. This disease develops little by little, being very difficult to detect the first signs.

If you are a person with diabetes, you should make sure to have checkups once a year with your ophthalmologist. The basic process is to perform a dilated examination to obtain a diagnosis.

Of course, it is necessary to maintain a healthy diet low in sugar, since this simple action could prevent diabetic retinopathy or, at least, slow its progress.

Age-related macular degeneration

This eye problem is closely related to age and could damage the sharp vision needed to see objects clearly or do common tasks like reading a book.

For its detection, a dilated pupil examination is performed. The attending ophthalmologist should detect signs of macular degeneration.

With some dietary supplements, it is possible to decrease the probability of damage from this disease.

Causes of visual problems in the elderly

The main cause of the development of eye disease in the elderly is the neglect of visual health. After age 40, you need to see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

There are many eye diseases that do not present symptoms. So an eye exam with dilated pupils could detect it in time.

Other causes of vision problems in the elderly are associated with bad habits. When you are an older adult, it is essential to start taking action on your habits or routines to prevent possible diseases.

Tips to avoid vision problems in the elderly

Definitely, with the advancement of age, you are more prone to suffer from any disease. In that sense, it is important to undergo regular eye exams.

For people over 65 years of age, it is advisable to attend eye exams annually. In this type of exam, the professional will apply a few drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils. That way, he can easily check inside the eyes and detect possible damage.

Currently, it is the only way to detect eye problems or diseases that are almost invisible to the point of showing no symptoms. Also, remember to maintain a balanced diet, exercise or walk daily, wear sunglasses, and avoid overtaxing your eyesight, such as reading in dim light.