Ocular Health Maintenance at Age 65+ by Stephen John, O.D.

October 2, 2020

Dr. Stephen John is a primary care optometrist who provides ocular disease care and ocular surgery co-management at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

For most of us, vision is an essential part of quality of life. The key to maintaining good vision and healthy eyes as you age is preventative care. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to lose it until it is too late. Most vision loss related to eye disease can be prevented if the disease is caught early. Proper preventative care will give you the upper hand in the effort to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

Routine Comprehensive Exams

If you are over the age of 65, you have no symptoms of eye disease, and you are seeing clearly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have a comprehensive examination performed by an eye doctor every 1 to 2 years. Incidences of ocular disease increase with age, so people ages 65 and up are at their most vulnerable.

Comprehensive eye exams include more than updating your prescription for glasses and contacts. Optometrists and ophthalmologists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to check for damage from health conditions such as diabetes and to check specifically for eye diseases that can lead to blindness, such as glaucoma and cataracts.

If you have symptoms of eye disease or cannot see clearly, your eye doctor may recommend that you have more frequent exams.

Common Eye Diseases Brought on by Age

Age is a major risk factor when it comes to eye disease. There are several ocular diseases and conditions your eye doctor will look for once you are over 65. These are some of the most common:

  • Cataracts Cataracts refers to clouded lenses that occur when proteins in the eye start to break down. Cataracts can prevent light from focusing in the retina, which may result in blurry vision, seeing double, light sensitivity, 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 retina may swell, leak, or close completely. 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 central vision.
  • Glaucoma — Glaucoma results when a buildup of this fluid exerts pressure on the optic nerve and damages its nerve fibers. This can lead to blind spots in a patient’s vision.

Don’t Wait to Make an Appointment

Regular comprehensive eye exams have been proven to help stave off eye disease, visual impairment, and total blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above and reach out to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist more frequently if you have a personal history of vision problems or if your family has a history of eye disease.

More About Primary Care Optometrist Stephen John, O.D.

Dr. John is a primary care optometrist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in ocular disease and provides ocular surgery co-management. He earned his doctor of optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry before completing residencies at the Ohio State University College of Optometry, the Chalmer P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, and the Chillicothe VA Medical Center. He is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Georgia Optometric Association, and the Greater Atlanta Optometric Association. He is certified by the American Board of Optometry, the Georgia Board of Optometry, and the National Board of Examiners. Read more about Dr. John 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, 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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