It’s helpful to know how the eyes work, to understand how the eye’s parts function together to bring clear images to your brain – and how these parts change over time.
One thing you might notice is that just about everyone in your age group wears some kind of vision correction, like eye glasses or contact lenses. Here are some reasons why:
Retina Becomes Less Light Sensitive
As you age, your retina becomes less light sensitive, so you need more light to see as well as you did before. Brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair will help bring printed words into clearer focus, but eventually, you’ll need vision correction, such as bifocals or multifocal contact lenses, for reading.
The Eye’s Lens Becomes Less Elastic
Are printed words not as clear as they used to be? This is, in part, because your eyes’ lenses become less elastic with time. This makes it tougher for your eyes to focus with the same agility you experienced in younger years. Reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal contact lenses will help you see more clearly.
The Eye’s Lens May Become Cloudy
Your eye’s lens may start to become cloudy, making it harder to see colours with the same vibrancy you once enjoyed. You may also notice additional glare from headlights at night, or from the sun hitting the pavement during the day. Polarised sunglasses can help prevent this from happening during the day by filtering out the glare. You may also find it more difficult to drive at night. Contact lenses that correct for spherical aberration may help with this condition.
PureVision Multi-Focal contact lenses allow you to stay in your contacts instead of moving to bifocals or reading glasses.
Eyes May Feel Drier
You may have noticed that your eyes feel drier than normal. This is because your tear glands have lost some ability to produce moisture and keep your eyes properly lubricated. Artificial-tear eye drops that work like real tears to moisturise and alleviate the discomfort of dry eye. If your job involves using a computer for hours at a time, you may be increasing the dryness through a condition called computer vision syndrome. Making some small changes in your work habits can provide some relief for this problem. This includes:
Keeping your computer screen within 40-50cm of your eyes
Keeping the top of your computer screen slightly below eye level
Minimizing the distance between your computer screen and any documents you need to reference while working
Using drops, to soothe irritated, dry eyes
Adjusting the light to minimize glare on the screen
Taking a break every 15 minutes to focus on a distant object
Seeing Bright Pinpoints of Light or Floating Black Dots
Are you seeing occasional bright pinpoints of light, or floating black dots that seem to last a long time? These come into your field of vision because your vitreous, the part of the eye that connects to the retina, begins to shrink as you reach your 40s. The floaters and flashers are a nuisance, but you can learn to ignore them without much effort. If you see a sudden increase in the number of dots and flashes, contact your eye care professional.