What’s happening to the eye
EARLY IN LIFE
Young adults are taking part in leisure or sports activities, socialising, watching television, reading, playing video games, or using the computer for recreation. Statistics show that nine out of ten Canadian 15-year-old students had access to a home computer in 2000, and 52% used it almost every day.4 Not to mention the time they spend at work or school.
Eyesight is important for all of these activities, and some – like working on the computer or participating in outdoor activities – require special consideration when it comes to protecting sight.
Watch for the symptoms of eye problems:
• Difficulty seeing, headache, eyestrain, fatigue, watery and uncomfortable eyes, and excessive blinking may all be signs that you need eyeglasses. Computer Vision Syndrome can cause blurry vision, sore and tired eyes, and neck and shoulder pain, and can contribute to the development of nearsightedness (difficulty seeing far away).
Whether you’ve worn glasses since childhood or have never required vision correction, as you get older, you become more at risk for vision problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts and other potentially sight-threatening diseases.
An age-related eye problem that everyone will encounter is presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused by age-related changes in the eye which make it harder to focus on close objects. Of Canadians 40 years or older, 76% have at least one of the symptoms that characterize presbyopia. The main age-range for developing presbyopia is 45 to 49.5 But it often begins to show up long before this; and while it doesn’t lead to blindness, it can make up seeing objects close up – like a newspaper, menu, or computer screen – challenging.
Ask about treatment options for presbyopia:
• Your eyes may be changing but your lifestyle doesn’t have to. There are a variety of options for treating presbyopia, including bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses, also known as “no-line” bifocals.
LATER IN LIFE
According to a recent study, people over the age of 61 have an increased risk for serious, sight-threatening or visually disabling eye conditions, like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Loss or deterioration of eyesight can impact your safety and independence, and can turn your “golden years” into the dark ages. Recent studies have determined that 82% of the Canadian population aged 65 and older reported having a vision problem in 2003.6 Vision problems can make daily activities difficult to perform and leisure time less enjoyable.
Recognize the symptoms and seek treatment
• Age-related macular degeneration produces a painless loss of vision. Early signs can often be detected with a retinal exam.
• Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. They are often treated with surgery.
• Diabetic retinopathy results in broken, leaking or blocked blood vessels in the retina that impair vision over time. Early treatment can slow progression.
• Glaucoma can cause headaches, blurred vision, difficulty adapting to darkness, haloes around lights, or no symptoms at all. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent vision loss.
• Presbyopia is an inevitable condition that makes reading and seeing close up difficult. It can be treated with proper eyewear.
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1. The National Coalition for Vision Health
2. Statistics Canada report 2004
4. “Information and Communication Technology: Access and Use,” As reported in Education Quarterly Review, Vol. 8, No. 4: Statistics Canada Catalogue No. 81-003.
5. “Study on the Visual Health of Canadians,” Essilor, September 2004
6. Source: MediRessourse-Canadian Press