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Common Vision Problems Facing Seniors

By the time you reach the age of 60, the eye diseases that cause vision problems have been developing for years without causing symptoms. But it’s never too late to intervene, and Wolchok Eye Associates, PA is here to help in Jacksonville, Florida. 

We offer compassionate and comprehensive eye care with a special focus on helping seniors keep their eyes healthy and maintain clear vision. Here’s a rundown of the top four eye diseases that can cause vision problems as you get older.

Cataracts

Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens clump up and turn the lens cloudy. As cataracts enlarge, you experience problems such as blurry vision, double vision, poor night vision, and sensitivity to light.

You can lower your risk of developing cataracts and slow down their progression by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet light triggers changes in the lens that contribute to cataracts.

In the early stages of cataract development, eyeglasses can correct your vision. However, we successfully treat this eye problem with cataract surgery.

Using an advanced femtosecond laser, we safely and precisely remove the old lens and replace it with a new one. With today’s cutting-edge lens technology, we can insert intraocular lenses that improve your vision and correct astigmatism.

Glaucoma

There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common form, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops when the pressure inside your eye gets too high.

The center of your eye is filled with fluid that creates just the right amount of pressure to maintain the shape of your eye. This fluid is continuously refreshed as old fluid drains out of the eye and is replaced with new fluid.

When the drainage system is blocked, the fluid accumulates, and your intraocular pressure increases. Without treatment, the ongoing pressure gradually damages the optic nerve. As more of the nerve stops working, you start noticing changes in your peripheral or side vision.

Treatment for glaucoma typically begins with medicated eye drops that stabilize your eye pressure by improving drainage, reducing fluid production, or both. We also have extensive experience performing laser surgery to reopen the drainage system.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs when the center of your retina, an area called the macula, deteriorates. The macula is packed with photoreceptor cells that allow you to see by converting light into signals that travel through the optic nerve to your brain.

When you have AMD, the photoreceptor cells are damaged, which leads to vision loss. How the cells are damaged depends on the type.

Dry macular degeneration

Dry AMD, the most common type, begins when the macula thins out and tiny deposits of proteins develop. These deposits, called drusen, gradually increase in size and number, causing progressive damage to the macula.

Dry AMD causes blurry areas in the center of your vision, As the disease progresses, the blurry spots enlarge.

Though we currently don’t have an effective treatment for dry AMD, we can slow down the progressive damage with a dietary supplement that contains a special blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.

Wet macular degeneration

Wet AMD is less common but causes more vision loss than dry AMD. This type develops when the retina grows abnormal blood vessels.

These vessels leak fluids into the macula, causing swelling that damages the cells. In some cases, the damage occurs rapidly and you notice quick changes in your central vision.

We offer several treatments for wet AMD, but the first choice is usually an injection of a medication called anti-VEGF. Anti-VEGF shrinks the abnormal blood vessels and may improve your vision. Other treatments include photodynamic therapy and laser photocoagulation.

Diabetic retinopathy

You develop diabetic retinopathy when high blood sugar damages the blood vessels in your retina. At first, the damaged blood vessels develop bulges that block the flow of blood, forcing fluids to leak into the retina.

Over time, your body tries to correct the problem by growing new blood vessels. However, like wet AMD, these vessels are fragile and leak. The buildup of fluids can destroy the macula or lead to retinal detachment.

If you notice changes in your vision or you would like preventive eye care, don’t wait to schedule an eye examination at Wolchok Eye Associates, PA. Call or request an appointment online today. 

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