Caring for Your Eyes at Age 65+ by Amy Cherof, M.D.

June 22, 2020

Dr. Amy Cherof is a comprehensive ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

Your vision is fundamental to your quality of life. Many people don’t realize how important it is until it’s too late. The incidence of ocular disease increases with age, so people aged 65 and up are at their most vulnerable when it comes to vision loss. However, most vision loss related to eye disease can be prevented or treated if the disease is caught early. Proper preventative care gives you every advantage possible to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear as you age.

How Often Most People Over 65 Need Eye Exams

If you are 65 or older, you have no symptoms of eye disease, and you are seeing clearly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have an examination performed by an eye doctor every 1 to 2 years. Comprehensive eye exams include more than updating your prescription for glasses and contacts. Ophthalmologists and optometrists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to examine for ocular disease caused by health conditions such as diabetes as well as to look for other eye diseases that could lead to blindness, such as glaucoma and cataracts. If you have symptoms of eye disease or cannot see clearly, your ophthalmologist may recommend that you have more frequent exams.

The Most Common Age-Related Eye Diseases to Watch For

There are several diseases and conditions your ophthalmologist will keep an eye on in your regular examinations once you are over 65. These are the 4 most common eye diseases your doctor will examine for:

  • Cataracts Cataract refers to clouding of the natural lens that happens when proteins in the eye start to break down. Cataracts scatter light, preventing it from properly focusing on the retina, which can result in blurry vision, glare with bright lights, inability to see in dim lighting, or seeing faded colors.
  • Diabetic retinopathy — Diabetic retinopathy occurs as a result of damage to blood vessels in the retina due to high blood sugar levels. Blood vessels in the eye may leak, or new abnormal, fragile blood vessels may grow in the retina causing bleeding or scar tissue formation. Diabetic retinopathy can result in blurry vision or loss of central and/or peripheral vision.
  • Age-related macular degeneration — Age-related macular degeneration occurs when protein deposits or abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. Age-related macular degeneration affects the central vision, causing blind spots or distortion.
  • Glaucoma — Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that results in loss of peripheral vision, and it is often associated with an increased pressure inside the eye.

Don’t Wait to Make an Appointment

Routine eye exams have been proven to help combat eye disease, visual impairment, and total blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above, and visit your local ophthalmologist more frequently if you are at a higher risk of developing disease, if you have personal history of visual problems or disease, or if you have a family history of eye disease.

More About Ophthalmologist and Cataract Specialist Amy Cherof, M.D.

Dr. Cherof is an ophthalmologist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in cataracts in addition to offering comprehensive care. Dr. Cherof graduated summa cum laude with highest honors with her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology. Read her full bio here.

References and Additional Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students.

Eye Exam

Eye Exam and Vision Testing Basics

Frequency of Ocular Examinations – 2015

Vision Screening Recommendations for Adults Over 60

What Is Macular Degeneration?

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

What Is Glaucoma?

What Are Cataracts?

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