Age-Proofing Your Eyesight: The Importance Of Regular Eye Exams

It’s no surprise that our eyesight changes as we age, and it’s important to take preventative measures to keep our vision in the best condition possible. August is National Eye Exam month and eye exams play a key part in maintaining good eye health for the older adults we care for and ourselves.


Regular eye exams are crucial as we age, as they can detect eye diseases and conditions early on and help maintain our vision health. Many people may not realize that health issues affecting other parts of the body can also impact our vision. For example, individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, or those taking medications with eye-related side effects are at a higher risk for developing vision problems. By having regular eye exams, we can monitor and address any changes in our vision.

The National Institute on Aging recommends individuals age 50 and over should receive a dilated eye exam annually. It’s important to note that many eye diseases do not show symptoms in their early stages. That’s why a dilated eye exam performed by an eye care professional is essential. This exam allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the eyes and can identify common eye diseases before they cause significant vision loss.

During a dilated eye exam, the eye care professional will use eye drops to widen the pupil, allowing a clearer view of the back of the eye, including the retina and optic nerve. A comprehensive evaluation will be performed which includes a series of tests that assess our visual acuity, eye pressure, peripheral vision, and the health of the various structures of the eye.

In addition to detecting eye diseases, eye exams can also help prevent falls and injuries by ensuring that you have the correct prescription for glasses or contact lenses.


Regular eyes exams can help detect and slow the progression of many eye conditions and diseases.

Cataracts are one of the most prevalent age-related eye conditions. They occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, causing blurred vision and difficulty seeing clearly. Fortunately, cataracts can be effectively treated through surgery, restoring clear vision for many individuals.

Glaucoma is another common eye disease that often goes undetected until it has progressed significantly. It is characterized by increased pressure in the eye, which can lead to damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. Regular eye exams can help identify signs of glaucoma early on, allowing for prompt treatment and management.

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. It can cause central vision loss, making it difficult to read, drive, or recognize faces. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, early detection and treatment can slow down the progression of the disease and help preserve remaining vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina. It can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. Managing diabetes through medication, lifestyle changes, and regular eye exams is crucial in preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal detachment is a serious condition that occurs when the retina becomes detached from its normal position, causing a sudden loss of vision. It requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss. Regular eye exams can help detect signs of retinal detachment early on, allowing for prompt intervention.


Not all vision changes are necessarily linked to underlying issues. As we age, it’s important to understand and expect normal changes in our vision. Our eyes go through natural changes over time, and these changes can affect our visual acuity and overall eye health.

Having trouble reading? You might be experiencing presbyopia which is the difficulty in focusing on close objects. This is a normal part of the aging process and can usually be corrected with reading glasses or bifocals.

A decrease in your ability to distinguish colors, particularly blues and greens is due to changes in the lenses of our eyes and can be managed by wearing appropriate tinted lenses if necessary.

In addition, our eyes may become more sensitive to light and glare and have a harder time adjusting to changes in lighting conditions. This can happen when there is bright light or if lights are dim, such as in the evening. This is why it’s especially important to take extra care driving at night.

Dry eyes occur when your tear ducts produce less tears. Dry eyes is not an uncommon experience as we age and many times your eye care professional can recommend treatment to alleviate the irritability.

By being aware of these common eye diseases and conditions, and by seeking regular eye exams, we can take proactive steps to protect our vision and ensure early detection and treatment of any issues that may arise. Remember, your eye health is important at any age, so don’t hesitate to prioritize regular eye exams for both you and your aging loved one to ensure that your vision remains in the best condition possible for years to come.

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