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At What Age Do Eye Conditions Develop?

By David Gross on July 29, 2017


A woman getting her eyes checkedYour vision can be negatively impacted at any age, but certain eye conditions may be more likely at a certain time in your life. That's why our Merrillville eye care center keeps age in mind when diagnosing and treating all sorts of issues that can impact someone's eyesight.

Let's take a moment to consider some common eye conditions and at what age symptoms and related problems may start to become apparent.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors occur when light passing through the eyes does not focus on the retinas, which are the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eyes. These are very common vision issues that you may know better by the following names:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

These kinds of vision issues can be present at any age. That said, refractive errors tend to stabilize around a person's twenties.

Treatments for refractive error range from the use of corrective lenses to laser eye surgery procedures such as LASIK and PRK.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a form of age-related farsightedness that is caused by the hardening of the naturally flexible lens of the eye. The exact cause for this has yet to be determined, though the condition tends to start around middle age. Presbyopia is an unavoidable part of the aging process.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the clear leans of the eye clouds over. This may be the result of injury, eye conditions, exposure to UV rays, and the wear and tear sustained by the eyes over the course of a life.

Given that there are many causes of cataracts, they can technically occur at any age. In fact, some people are born with cataracts, though this is a very rare condition. When cataracts form naturally and not due to injury, they tend to first become apparent in middle age or later. Keep in mind that cataracts can form gradually, showing up first as minor clouding.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) becomes too high. This can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss and eventual blindness. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Glaucoma is most common in people who are age 40 or older, though it's possible (yet rare) for babies to suffer from a congenital form of glaucoma.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is a type of vision loss that involves damage to the macula, a central part of the retina that helps with clear and sharp central vision. There are two kinds of AMD: dry macular degeneration (80 percent of all cases) and wet macular degeneration (less common, but more severe).

Macular degeneration tends to start around the age of 50, getting worse as patients get older. There are many options out there to slow down and stop the rate of vision loss.

Dry Eye

Dry eye can lead to irritation and reduced vision. So many things can trigger dry eye. In fact, it's estimated that nearly half of Americans age 18 and older suffer from dry eye symptoms. Age is one factor to keep in mind for severity of dry eye. People age 50 and older are more prone to dry eye attacks, with women twice as likely as men to experience this condition.

Learn More About Advanced Vision Correction

If you would like more information about treating issues that affect your eyesight and your ability to function in day-to-day life, be sure to contact our vision correction and eye care center today. The team at our practice will help maintain and enhance your vision.

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