Now that you're aging, you're probably well aware of all the changes that are taking place in your body. Some of those changes are going to occur in your eyes. Unfortunately, as you age, your vision begins to change. You might not be able to see as well at night anymore. Your once-perfect vision might need to be corrected with prescription lenses. Most of the vision changes you'll experience will be part of the normal aging process. However, some changes might be warning signs of more serious problems with your eyes. If you develop any of the vision problems described below, you should speak to your optometrist.
Floating Objects and Flashes of Light
It's normal to see small particles floating in your field of vision from time to time. Most of the time, those floating objects are merely a piece of an eyelash or a speck of dust that's gotten onto the surface of your eye. But if you're noticing an increased amount of floating objects in your field of vision or if the floaters are accompanied by small flashes of lights, you should have your vision checked. You may be experiencing a vision problem known as retinal detachment, or a tear in the surface of your retina. If caught soon enough, your optometrist can repair the damage. Unfortunately, if retinal detachment is left untreated, it can lead to permanent blindness.
Decreased Field of Peripheral Vision
When you are looking straight ahead, peripheral vision is the field of vision that you have to each side. Glaucoma can cause your peripheral vision to deteriorate. As the disease progresses, your field of vision to the side will continue to shrink. You can monitor your own peripheral vision at home with these instructions.
- Stand straight with your feet slightly apart.
- Place the tip of your right index finger on the tip of your nose.
- Slowly move your finger away from your nose in a straight line.
- Stop when your finger is about 8" away from the tip of your nose.
- While looking straight ahead, move your finger in a curved line to the side and towards the back of your head.
- Stop when you can no longer see your finger.
- Repeat the exercise on the left side.
- Notify your optometrist when your field of vision begins to decrease.
Changes That Come and Go
If your vision can't seem to make up its mind, meaning it's good one minute and cloudy the next, your eyes might be trying to warn you about potential health problems. Diabetes and multiple sclerosis can both cause a vision disease known as optic neuritis. This disease damages the optic nerve and can lead to periods of temporary blindness. If you experience temporary vision loss, you should talk to your optometrist and your personal physician. You might have a health problem that's also affecting your eyes.
Now that you're aging, you're going to notice changes in your vision. If you experience any of the vision changes discussed above, be sure to contact your optometrist or ophtalmologist as soon as possible.