How Your Vision Can Change as You Age

How Your Vision Can Change as You Age
 

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This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

I’m happy to partner today with VSPVision Care, the national leader in eye care benefits. I was financially compensated for this post but, as always, the opinions are completely my own based on my experience. You can find out more about VSP Individual Vision Plans at  GetVSPDirect.com or by calling 877-988-4746 to learn more from one of their customer care representatives.

I have always had bad eyesight. I was wearing thick “coke bottle” glasses in second grade and even the LASIK surgery I had in my 40s didn’t cure my vision problems. I was still nearsighted enough after the surgery that I still needed contacts. The surgery didn’t help with my ever-increasing need to hold the menu further and further away.

Now that I’m well into my 50s, I’m realizing I need to take a more proactive approach in caring for my vision. I’ve been seeing the signs of some age-related changes in my vision that I’m taking seriously. Are you experiencing any of these changes too?

You Might Need a “Glasses Wardrobe”

My unorthodox approach of contacts combined with reading glasses has started to fail me. Now I need a whole wardrobe of glasses: contacts for seeing far away, reading glasses for books and magazines, reading glasses for my iPad (the ones I use for books and magazines are too strong and give me headaches when I try to read e-books) and computer glasses for the up-close work I do all day. I’ve started identifying each pair of glasses with a little piece of washi tape so I can tell which pair should be used for which purpose. It’s time, I think, to give up the contacts and switch to wearing the glasses with progressive lenses (vision, computer, and reading) my doctor advised me to get during my last eye exam.

How Your Vision Changes as You Age

Note the tape on the glasses – that lets me know what power all these reading glasses are. Also, admit it! You have tons of reading glasses all around the house, too, right?

Your Eyes Can’t Adjust as Quickly

How did middle-aged people order food before every phone came equipped with a flashlight app? As I age, I have to whip out mine to light the menu even in fairly bright situations. Did you ever wonder why you need more light as you get older? As it turns out, our pupils get smaller when we age so they are letting in less light. They also get slower so we have a harder time adjusting to lighting changes. I’ve noticed for a while I often experience eye pain when I move from a darkened room to bright sunlight.

Reading a Menu Becomes Harder as You Get Older

Driving at Night May Become Hard

These changes in our pupils have a more serious consequence than just not being able to read the special of the day. Because our pupils are less responsive, we can’t see as well at night so driving at night becomes more difficult. Additionally, our peripheral vision decreases as we age, making it harder to see the cars around us. These changes don’t necessarily show up on a regular “reading the letters on the eye exam.” Instead, as you age, your eye doctor should perform additional tests such as contrast sensitivity and visual processing speed. Yet another reason we need yearly comprehensive eye exams, especially as we age!

You May Experience Some Scary Vision Symptoms

During the last two years, I’ve had a few episodes where my vision would dim in one eye or I couldn’t focus my eyes. I assumed, of course, I had a brain tumor but wasn’t really worried enough to call the doctor until I had an episode while driving and had to pull over.

My doctor was concerned enough about my symptoms to have me come in immediately. (It’s so helpful to have an eye doctor who you see on a regular basis because they are familiar with your eyes and can quickly assess whether a vision change is alarming or benign.)

The episodes I was having were concerning to my eye doctor because they can be a symptom of a few serious problems, including retinal detachment, and I have two markers for increased risk for retinal detachment: I’m over 50 and have extreme myopia. I was grateful my eye doctor was concerned enough to see me right away since a detached retina can lead to permanent vision loss.

Thankfully, my retina was nicely in place, but my doctor worked with me to determine just what

was causing my eye problems. The times when I couldn’t focus my eyes were caused by Computer Vision Syndrome, basically eye strain caused by staring at a computer for long periods of time without taking a break. (Guilty as charged.) As long as I I take breaks from the computer every 20 minutes or so to allow my eyes to rest, I can avoid the eye strain and keep my vision fresh.

My blurred vision, my doctor told me, were probably caused by ocular migraines: painless changes in vision similar to the aura that sometimes occurs before a migraine. As a life-long migraine sufferer, that makes sense to me.

You Need Your Eye Doctor Now More Than Ever

Needless to say, as I’m aging and my vision is changing, I’m making my annual visit with the eye doctor even more of a priority. Besides following up on my existing eye concerns, my doctor tests me each year for glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, two serious problems that are more common as we age. A yearly appointment is more important now than ever.

Now that I’m semi-retired and working for myself, though, I don’t have the cushy corporate insurance benefits I used to. That’s why I was so pleased to discover that VSP Vision Care, the insurance my employer provided, also offers Individual Vision Plans. VSP Individual Vision Plans can cost as little as $17 per month which is an affordable investment for a complete plan that covers a comprehensive eye exam, prescription lenses, allowance for frames and contacts (just in case I want to stay with the contacts for a bit longer!), and access to the nation’s largest network of independent doctors. That means I can stay with my current eye doctor who already knows my issues and concerns. One less thing to worry about!

Today’s post was sponsored by VSP Individual Vision Plans. I was financially compensated for this post but, as always, the opinions are completely my own based on my experience. You can find out more about VSP Individual Vision Plans, at  GetVSPDirect.com or by calling 877-988-4746 to learn more from one of their customer care representatives.

Pin for Later

Now that I’m well into my 50s, I’m realizing that I need to take a more proactive approach in caring for my vision. I’ve been seeing the signs of some age-related changes in my vision that I’m taking seriously. Are you experiencing any of these changes too? AD

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1 Comment

  1. February 10, 2018 / 8:10 am

    Great article with good recommendations. Bloggers especially spend so much time on the computer these days that our eyesight is bound to be affected. I have three different glasses now depending on what activity I am doing. I notice too that restaurants often have glasses on hand for people who need them to read the menu. We have to remember to take frequent breaks to allow our eyes to rest. Health care and fixed income are a hard balance so it’s good to know what’s available for the frugal. In Canada vision care is a bit different, but still costly without coverage.

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