As you reach your 40s, you may start to notice a change in your vision.

Many changes are normal, but others can be warning signs of more serious conditions. Beginning at age 40, you should visit an ophthalmologist annually to protect your vision and catch any problems early. The expert physicians at USC Roski Eye Institute are specially trained in comprehensive ophthalmic care from routine checkups to the management of the most complex cases.

Common age-related vision changes

Your eyes and vision change throughout your life, but many of the most profound changes begin in your 40s. You may experience several symptoms, but many can be treated by your ophthalmologist or corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Difficulty reading and seeing up close – Are you holding reading materials farther away, especially in dimly lit places? Presbyopia, or farsightedness, occurs as the lens inside your eye loses some of its flexibility affecting its ability to focus.

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Dry eyes – Dry eyes is a condition associated with advancing age that occurs when your tears are unable to adequately lubricate your eyes, resulting in a stinging, itchy, dry sensation. Most commonly, either you don’t produce enough tears or your tears are of poor quality. The physicians at the USC Roski Eye Institute may prescribe artificial tears or prescription medications for more severe dry eye.

Warning signs and symptoms of eye trouble

Some symptoms may warn of more serious problems. Make an appointment right away if you experience one of these signs.

Loss of peripheral vision – Your peripheral vision allows you to see to your sides and out of the corners of your eyes. If you notice a change in your peripheral vision, you may be developing glaucoma, which is caused by elevated pressure inside the eye.

Floaters and flashes – It’s normal to see an occasional spot or floating particle in your vision. But if they start suddenly, are appearing more often or are accompanied by bright flashes of light, you may have a retinal hole or tear, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Increased glare or cloudy vision – Cloudy vision and increased glare can be an early sign of cataracts or dry eye. A cataract, a condition common with age, develops when the natural lens in the eye becomes increasingly opaque.

Keep your eyes healthy

By the time you turn 65, you have a one in three chance of developing an eye disease that impairs your vision. A healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, as well as walnuts and dark leafy greens, can help. Wearing sunglasses also shields your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Even if you don’t wear glasses, start with a baseline eye exam at age 40. Follow up with a comprehensive eye exam every year. Are you overdue? Request an appointment online with an ophthalmologist from the USC Roski Eye Institute or call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273).

Sources:

All About Vision
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Optometric Association