Eye Care and Growing Older

As we grow older, the efficiency of our eyes deteriorates. Commonly, the optical tissue becomes less transparent and changes in the retina reduce the sensitivity of the nerves, which convert light into tiny electrical impulses for the brain.

Spectacles make up for any change in optical focus, but to compensate for the loss of transparency within the eye, increasing intensities of light are required in later life.

The incidence of eye disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts and pterygium increase as we age and often due to free radical damage caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor nutrition or long term exposure to the sun’s ultra violet radiation. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that damage healthy body cells and speed up the ageing process within the body.

Treatment options for these eye disorders are still in their infancy or may involve some form of surgery. Eye drops and medication can manage certain conditions, but early detection and preventative measures such as lifestyle changes and diet supplements are critical factors in reducing the development and progression of more serious problems.

Some of the most common disorders positively respond to a regular intake of antioxidants, certain vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants and nutrients involved in eye care may include proanthocyanidins, bioflavonoids, carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins A,C and E and herbal extracts of bilberry and ginko.

Just as it is important that older people have regular medical examinations, regular eye examinations help to make the most of vision and to detect any conditions that need treatment. Many of the changes caused by eye disease occur slowly and without obvious signs of discomfort. Regular eye examinations greatly improve the chances of detecting any problems.