When we’re young, we think we’re going to stay young forever. We don’t think about how our health will change. Certainly not our vision heath. Our vision diminishes slowly over time. By the time we notice that something is wrong, it may be too late.
That’s why it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly and in every stage of life. Our eyes never remain the same. Even if they seem to be unchanging, you can’t always tell how the inner eye is working unless you go for a comprehensive eye exam.
Let’s take a look at how your eyes change over the years.
We are born with almost our entire eye structure. As the rest of our body grows our eyes remain mostly the same as they were in our mother’s wombs. However, it’s in the childhood years that lifelong vision problems may occur.
Though the eye is mostly formed when we’re born, it does go through some development in early childhood years. This is the time that vision problems become cemented in. However, it is also the perfect time to correct vision conditions because the eye is still malleable.
It is important to act fast when children have vision developmental issues. If these issues are not resolved and corrected by the age of eight, then they may be stuck with them for the rest of their lives.
Amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye, is the most common condition among children. It affects every three out of 100 children. With an almost 100 percent success rate when it comes to treating lazy eye, most children can overcome this condition easily.
However, if amblyopia isn’t treated before the age of seven, then the condition will likely persist into adulthood. Amblyopia is not curable in adults because the eye is already set in that position.
It is extremely important for children to have their eyes checked twice a year. The earlier developmental issues are spotted and dealt with, the better chance your child has at a lifetime of healthy vision.
Ideally your child will visit the eye doctor regularly until the age of 18.
Early Adulthood: 20s and 30s
This is truly the troubled decade for eye health. In your 20s and 30s, you feel invincible. Your health is the last thing you’re thinking about. And least of all your vision health. Lots of young adults are of the mindset that if you can see clearly, then nothing is wrong with your vision.
The biggest threat to your vision in your 20s and 30s is sun damage. Sun damage doesn’t only make your skin age quicker. It also causes your eyes to prematurely age and can cause various vision conditions.
When the eyes are exposed to too much direct sunlight it can cause premature cataracts, eye cancer and blisters on the eyes. That last one is especially common among surfers who spend endless hours in direct sunlight. Be sure to wear UV repellant sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
Another condition that is plaguing young adults is myopia. Many people develop myopia in their 20s and 30s because of school and work. Having your nose in a book or glued to a computer screen for hours and hours on end can lead to the diminishing of your ability to see distant objects. Your eyes become too used to seeing objects close to the eye.
About 40 percent of the population has myopia and according to research, that number will increase to 50 percent by the year 2050.
In addition to going to see the eye doctor at least once a year, it is also suggested that people in their 20s and 30s limit their screen time. Or at the very least, make an effort to take frequent breaks when using a screen or studying for long periods of time.
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Middle Aged: 40s and 50s
In middle age, the elasticity of the lens in the eye begins to harden. This could explain why you’re suddenly holding your phone at arms-length to be able to make out the small font.
This is called presbyopia. Presbyopia has symptoms similar to farsightedness. Things in the distance will be clear while things close to the eye will appear blurry. This is a natural part of aging. Everyone will go through this stage. Reading glasses are a popular treatment.
At this age, you may also experience dry eyes. Around the age of 40, many people stop producing a good amount of mucus that the eye needs to keep lubricated. This can be easily countered with adding omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. This can be found in fish, flaxseeds and eggs.
In your 40s and 50s, you should be seeing the eye doctor every year unless specified otherwise.
Old Age: 60 and Up
In old age, our eyes are at risk of being hit with one of the three leading causes of blindness: cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
All three of these diseases are irreversible. Once they begin to progress, there is little to be done other than slow it down. Glaucoma is especially harrowing because it shows relatively no symptoms until it is too late to even treat the disease.
The best treatment for either of these three diseases is to prevent them altogether. This can be achieved through maintaining healthy vision throughout your life. Otherwise you’re putting yourself in danger of developing these.
At age 60 and over, you need to see the eye doctor at least twice a year, if not more. The only way to prevent these diseases is to frequently monitor your vision. You never know when they may strike.
Our vision health is important all throughout our lifetime and not just when we begin to have vision problems. It is crucial that you have your eyes tested regularly even if you don’t think anything is wrong with them.
Numerous factors throughout life can affect how our eyes will age and how they will fair in the long run.