The Aging Eye: Normal vs. Abnormal

Normal Eye Changes Associated with Birthdays

As we age there are normal changes relating to eyesight that can be expected. Here is a list of both normal and abnormal eye health changes to be aware of.

Cataracts: cataracts are a change in the color and structure of the lens within the eye. Cataracts happen to every person who lives long enough, but they do happen at different ages. Cataracts tend to occur earlier in very nearsighted people and those with diabetes. There are several different types of cataracts but they all can cause glare, change the glasses/contacts prescription, make colors seem less vibrant and reduce visual acuity.

Dry eye: dry eye is more common in older patients, but we are beginning to see it in younger patients due to the increased use of screens and tablets. Dry eye occurs due to a combination of decreased production of and quality of tears from both our lacrimal glands and Meibomian glands. Since dry eye is a multifactorial and chronic condition, multiple therapies are often needed to manage signs and symptoms

Presbyopia: this is a natural aging process that again, happens to everyone who lives long enough. Beginning in the early 40s, the gradually loses flexibility over the next 10-15 years and is unable to focus on objects up close. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this process, but you can combat presbyopia with bifocals, progressive addition lenses, monovision and multifocal contact lenses.

Blepharochalasis: this is sagging of the upper eyelid skin. Usually blepharochalasis does not have a functional effect on the patient and often the complaints are due to cosmesis. However, the eyelid skin might sag enough to cut off the superior visual field. In this case, blepharoplasty (surgery to remove excess lid skin, often performed by an oculoplastic surgeon) eligibility can be determined by special testing to quantify how much of the field is affected

Posterior Vitreous detachment (asymptomatic): This is a process where the clear jelly inside the eye starts to condense and pull off the back of the eye. The majority of the time, this process is virtually asymptomatic and separates from the retina without any traction or damage. Read our related article about eye floaters and flashes.

Abnormal Eye Changes Associated with Aging

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): this affects the central vision and the change begins in the outer retina as a result from impaired waste removal. These changes result in disruption and death of the outer retina. In the wet form of AMD, bleeding also occurs and often results in abrupt vision loss. Risk factors include a positive family history, UV light exposure, age and smoking.

Symptomatic posterior vitreous detachment: As described above, the jelly can cause traction and pull on the retina when separating and possibly result in a retinal tear. You are more likely to have complications from the posterior vitreous detachment if you see new floaters or have flashes of light. Retinal tears can progress to retinal detachments and permanent vision loss if not treated in time.

A Little Bit About…

A Little Bit About…

Ashley Iketani-Castillo, OD, MS

Dr. Iketani is a Florida native who has a passion for managing ocular disease. She views each patient as a whole person and believes the eyes are a window to a patient’s systemic health. She also has a passion for fitting rigid lenses on patients with corneal disease to help them obtain their best vision.

Dr. Iketani graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry where she completed internships at the Hefner Veteren’s Affairs hospital in Charlotte, NC and The Metrolina Association for the Blind which focused on Low Vision rehabilitation. Prior to pursuing optometry, she obtained a Masters of Science which focused on developmental genetics and worked as a technician in a lab that researched breast cancer.

Dr. Iketani currently resides in Charlotte with her husband, a pediatric resident, their two cats and they are welcoming a baby boy in December 2018.

Celebrity Eye Health Blog Series Disclaimer

With all celebrities discussed in this series I am simply using the power of Google and reporting the rumors of their eye conditions. I am not certain if these celebrities have these eye conditions, and I have never seen their medical records or examined them myself. I am simply reporting on a personal interest of mine and describing what these conditions are. My comments do not reflect the personal history of the celebrity or inside knowledge of them or their rumored condition. - Dr. Ashley Iketani-Castillo

Disclaimer

Information contained within this Web site is intended solely for educational purposes and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. By using this Web site, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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