People who are 40 and over who suffer from vision problems have likely done so for their whole lives. However, some problems surface as a result of the natural ageing process.
The types of eye problems common in people over 40 are:
Short-sightedness – difficulty seeing things that are far away
Long-sightedness – difficulty seeing things that are up close
Astigmatism – blurry and distorted vision
Most people use glasses and contact lenses to correct these vision problems and are happy to do so. Then, there are others who find glasses and contact lenses an inconvenience or even unsafe. For these people, eye surgeons offer numerous eye treatments to safely, effectively and permanently correct these common vision problems.
As we age, we also start to notice some changes to our near vision. We find we need to hold things further and further away to see them as clearly as we did. We find small print to be particularly hard to read, especially in dim lighting conditions. Those of us who’s hobbies or work include close up work may find it harder and harder to focus our eyes. This is what we call presbyopia, and it is a result of that natural ageing of the eye. The typical solution is reading glasses or varifocal glasses if we’ve also worn glasses or contact lenses before.
Some people, in addition to the problems we list above, also suffer from dry eyes. Dry eye is a common condition that results in itching, rubbing, scratching and sometimes burning of the eyes. People over 40 who suffer from dry eye might spend a lot of time in front of screens or expose themselves to environmental conditions (for example, air conditioning) that promotes dry eye. In some cases, our ageing eyes fail to produce the tears we need to keep them moist and comfortable.
If you’re fortunate to age into your 60s and 70s, you may start to notice that your vision gets cloudy, hazy and yellowish. You may find you appreciate the outdoors less, see colours less vividly, and even stop doing some of the things you used to enjoy. If this is you, you may be getting a cataract, which is the opacification of the lens inside the eye due to ageing.
Eye problems can have effects on you that go beyond the physical symptoms we’ve listed above. For example, some people feel
- a lack of confidence in social situations
- a lack of freedom to swim, engage in sports
- a lack of convenience
- worried about the dangers of contact lens wear (which exceed the risks of laser eye surgery)
- burdened by the long-term costs of replacing glasses and contact lenses
- unattractive when they wear glasses
People choose vision correction for their own reasons. Fortunately, vision correction treatments not only can address these emotional concerns, but they can also be the most logical choice as well.
For those with ageing eyes, the need for reading glasses may signal the onset of middle age. This can be a troubling time because your body and mindset might feel as young as they did in your 30s, but your eyes no longer keep up. Now, you feel dependent on glasses, which may be a feeling you’ve never experienced. You may feel annoyed and frustrated at always needing to bring your reading glasses with you. Putting them on and off and on and off may feel like a daily chore. Losing them may be a constant annoyance. Being without them may feel debilitating.
Dry eyes may cause you no end of frustration. The burning and itching may be only a nuisance on some days. On other days it may feel intolerable, requiring you to stop what you’re doing and close your eyes to get any relief.
The onset of cataract can be a slow and almost imperceptible change. Suddenly you might find yourself unable to drive or feel that your life has slowly shrunken over time. Left untreated, your eyesight will become worse and worse, until finally, you will lose it entirely. The prospect may indeed be terrifying.
People over 40 live busy lives that can be encumbered by glasses, contact lenses and the adverse effects of ageing eyes. These daily hassles can affect you from morning to night.
For example, imagine:
- waking in the morning without needing to find your glasses or put in your contact lenses to see
- taking a shower or shaving your face and seeing everything you’re doing clearly
- exercising at the gym and seeing both your phone screen and the faces of those around you
- cycling to work and seeing clearly far ahead of you and seeing your cycling computer screen at the same time
- looking up from your screen at work to greet your co-workers and looking back down at your screen without a second thought
- going for an afternoon swim without worrying about seeing without your contact lenses
- opening the oven to take out the dinner you’ve cooked without your glasses fogging up
- falling asleep without worrying about taking out your contact lenses
All of these possibilities and many more await a life after glasses and contact lenses.