A person’s visual acuity can change throughout their lifetime. You may have had an excellent vision as a child, but eye problems started to show up as you got older. This may be due to the eye’s natural aging process.
But of course, many other factors could be the cause of this loss of perspective. So how do you know if your eyesight is diminishing? What are the possible causes? When to consult a doctor? What solutions are available? Can contact lenses help in this case?
How do you know if your eyesight is diminishing?
The World Health Organization statistics on vision disorders are staggering. According to the first WHO report, there are 2.2 billion people who are suffering from visual impairment or blindness.
Even more disconcerting, more than a billion of these cases could have been prevented with the proper care. It is for this very reason that it is very wise to pay special attention to the health of your eyes before the problem worsens.
As a general rule, the eyes are not immune to aging, just like other organs. This is because vision loss tends to occur gradually over the years. This is one of the reasons why visual acuity tends to deteriorate as you get older. However, the warning signs that indicate diminished vision are sometimes so subtle that you don’t even notice them.
However, becoming aware of this degradation can be particularly important since it is the only way to detect the problem and treat it in time. To do this, JLR Eye Hospital advises you to have a regular eye checkup with your ophthalmologist.
He is in the best position to guide you on the daily actions to adopt to maintain good eyesight for longer. Of course, you can also monitor your eye health yourself by being alert to certain changes, including:
- Cloudy, blurred, or double vision;
- Headaches or eye strain;
- Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes);
- Excessive blinking of the eyes;
- Change in iris color;
- Red and swollen eyes;
- Unusual or painful eye tenderness;
- The appearance of white areas in the pupil;
- Itching, burning, or strong discharge in the eyes
- And in general, any sudden change in vision.
Why does eyesight decline with age?
One thing is certain: the loss of vision is completely normal. Ocular failure tends to appear from the age of 45. Indeed, the eyes would function optimally only between 10 and 15 years. Beyond this age, visual acuity inevitably decreases.
To explain this loss of vision, one must understand the basic structure of the eye. In reality, the eyes are constantly adjusting the amount of light they let in. They focus on near and far objects and produce continuous images that are instantly transmitted to the brain.
The lens, which is located behind the pupil, concentrates the rays of light and projects them onto the retina. This visual effort is called “accommodation” and allows you to see clearly.
In the near vision, the ciliary muscles relax to allow the lens to stretch. This allows light rays to refract more strongly. To focus on a distant object, however, these muscles contract and the lens swells. Eye health professionals often refer to a camera’s autofocus to explain how it works.
With age, however, this accommodation capacity of the eye decreases due to the loss of elasticity in the ciliary muscles. Loss of sight then begins to set in, especially from the age of 45.
Sudden loss of sight: what are the other possible causes?
Over the years, it is not uncommon for people to need corrective lenses to correct astigmatism (an optical defect that disrupts the function of the retina), farsightedness (which affects near vision), or myopia (which makes distant objects blurry).
Be that as it may, wearing glasses or daily contact lenses, for example, is generally sufficient to treat these disorders. In this case, it is also quite normal for the prescription to change with age.
In addition, other pathologies such as presbyopia – characterized by defective near vision, but perfect distance vision – can occur in the early forties. For good reason, it is more difficult to focus directly on the retina as the lens becomes more rigid.
This leads to blurred vision and difficulty seeing things up close. The muscles that support the lens also relax with age, which contributes to visual errors.
However, vision loss tends to deteriorate gradually, rather than suddenly. If your visual acuity deteriorates suddenly, it would certainly be better to consult an ophthalmologist urgently.
Is your vision diplopia?
Double vision, also called “diplopia”, is a visual disorder characterized simply by the fact of seeing two images instead of just one. It can result from minor eye problems such as dry eyes or eye strain.
But it can also be a symptom of a more serious neurological disease. It is precisely for this reason that we advise you to consult urgently as soon as you notice this kind of change.
There are two types of diplopia:
1- Monocular diplopia: which affects only one eye and which can be caused by a lesion of the cornea or the iris, cataract (which generally progresses to blindness, if it is not treated), or even a macular degeneration ;
2- Binocular diplopia: which affects both eyes, it can be due to simple fatigue or other more serious conditions such as vascular problems or neurological diseases (including brain tumors).
Do you have blurry vision?
This problem should not be taken lightly, especially when it occurs transiently and abruptly. For good reason, it can indicate a serious problem (like an attack for example) that requires support in the next 24 to 48 hours. An emergency examination is particularly recommended in the event of:
- Sudden loss of sight, from simple blurring to blindness, which may be a consequence of an infectious disease;
- Phosphenes (sudden appearance of flashes, bright lines or spots of light) which may be a precursor to retinal detachment;
- Increased floaters which may indicate a retinal tear;
- Blurred vision on one side only which can be a sign of stroke (cerebrovascular accident);
- The intermittent visual fog which may indicate glaucoma;
- Color perception disorder (dyschromatopsia);
- Intolerance to light (photophobia).
Vision loss and fatigue
Eye strain, or asthenopia, is a condition that can be annoying but remains benign in the majority of cases. It is characterized by a decline in your eyesight over the course of the day but usually goes away on its own once you give your eyes a rest. To ensure that this inconvenience does not contain any other underlying problem, however, medical advice is recommended.
Most of the time, it is simply due to the intense use of digital devices or sustained strain on your eyes (such as when driving a long distance).
Symptoms of eyestrain include:
- Eye pain accompanied by dizziness;
- A burning or tingling sensation;
- An ophthalmic migraine;
- Difficulties of accommodation between near vision and distance vision;
- Irritated or red eyes.
Can vision loss be corrected with contact lenses?
Whether your vision isn’t what it used to be, or it was never very good, there are plenty of treatment options. To regain your eye health, wearing corrective lenses is probably the most popular alternative. But did you know that it is also possible to opt for toric lenses to correct any vision defect?
To be placed directly on the cornea, they can effectively replace your glasses without any problem. More aesthetic and easier to use, corrective lenses have also become more accessible. You can order them via any online platform.