How good is your eyesight?

July 10, 2015

You may have noticed some slight changes in your vision. Look at the list of questions below. Is "yes" your answer to one or more of them? If so, your eyes are probably undergoing the predictable changes that often start during late thirties or early forties.

How good is your eyesight?
  • While even a minor deterioration in your eyesight can be alarming, as well as inconvenient and irritating, it is reassuring to know that this is rarely due to a serious eye disorder — though you should always seek professional advice to make sure.
  • Most common difficulties are easy to deal with and there is no need for them to affect your enjoyment of life — or your health.  You should have a routine eye exam every two years — or more often if your doctor or optician recommends it. If you haven't had a test in the past two years, make an appointment.
  • This is especially important if you have recently experienced any sight problems.
  • While the normal changes that occur as we get older are the most likely cause, there is always a risk that something more serious has gone wrong. Some conditions require medical help.

Why eye exams matter

  • It's important to have regular eye exams because potentially serious conditions, such as glaucoma (if left untreated) or cataracts, are silent enemies — they are not usually painful, they appear gradually and do not necessarily produce any symptoms.
  • In the early stages, their effects on vision may be minimal and deterioration too slow to notice.
  • Yet, by the time you become aware of a change, it may be too late. Glaucoma, for instance, is perfectly treatable if caught early, but can cause blindness if ignored.
  • It's also worth noting that regular eye exams can reveal other problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, so you can catch them early, before they damage your general health.
  • And every driver should have his or her sight tested regularly to avoid endangering themselves and potentially other individuals.

Ten normal age-related eye changes

  1. Do you find that it is getting harder to focus close-up, especially for activities such as reading small print — newspapers, for example — or threading a needle and sewing?
  2. Do you find yourself holding the newspaper increasingly farther away from your eyes?
  3. Do you need more light to see comfortably, especially for close work?
  4. Does it take your eyes longer to adapt to sudden changes in light levels?
  5. Are you finding it harder to see after dark?
  6. Is it getting harder to drive at night?
  7. Are you increasingly disoriented by bright lights — oncoming headlights, for example?
  8. Do your eyes feel sore or irritated, especially after prolonged close work or computer use?
  9. Do you get a sensation of grittiness in your eyes?
  10. Do colours seem somehow less vivid than they once were?

    The more "yes" answers you give, the more likely it is that you are experiencing normal age-related eye changes, and you would be wise to make an appointment to see your optometrist.

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