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Eye problems in old age

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You eyes also age along with your body. Thus, old age is a very common risk factor for many eye problems which might not be present among young people. We have listed down the eye problems that are most likely to occur in old age.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

As the name suggests, age related macular degeneration is the one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 65 years of age. The defect certainly lies in the macula which is a part of the retina responsible for central vision. Other causes of AMD include high blood pressure and cholesterol, family history of AMD, oxidative stress in body, etc. Old people with AMD are unable to see the central portion of any object- it appears hazy and blurry.


Your grandma or grandpa must have undergone cataract surgery, right? Yes, cataract is very common among old people. Medically it is defined as “clouding of the lens”, which is a progressive condition. Old people with cataracts experience blurry or dim vision. They also develop sensitivity towards light and have reduced night vision. Cataract can be corrected with surgery, however if not treated can lead to permanent vision loss.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Another common eye complication prevalent among old people is – dry eye syndrome or xeropthlamia. The reasons for dry eye syndrome are associated with production of poor quality tears, quick evaporation of tears or reduced production of tear and complications in tear ducts. Old age is a risk factor for dry eye syndrome. The symptoms are – gritty and scratchy feeling in eyes, always feeling as if a foreign body is stuck inside eyes, blurred vision, tautness in eyes, etc. The problem seems to worsen in dry and cold weather conditions. If surgery is not needed then doctor usually give artificial tear drops.


Glaucoma is a serious eye conditions in elderly people which is characterized by damage of optic nerves due to increased eye pressure. Patients experience unusual vision in eyes which could be dark shadowy spots, trouble seeing in dark,  double vision, blurred near and distant vision, halos and rainbows around light source, etc. The eyelids also appear swollen. Treatment of glaucoma depends on the cause and intensity of the disease and it could be corrected with eye drops or surgery. 

Retinal detachment

People above 40 years of age might suffer from this eye condition. Retinal detachment means pulling away of the retina from its surrounding blood vessels. Although there’s no pain associated with retinal detachment, the stark signs are sudden appearance of floaters in front of eyes, seeing flashes of light and seeing darkness around peripheral vision. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency and if you notice any such symptoms, make sure you report to your doctor.

Diabetic retinopathy

As the name suggests, diabetic retinopathy is a side effect of uncontrolled diabetes. Damage occurs in the blood vessels of the retina due to high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetic retinopathy is also a progressive condition and initially you might just notice general vision problems. However, gradually the patient can see specks and floaters before eyes would find difficult to distinguish colours and if not treated it might also lead to blindness.

General vision problems

You may not be having any major eye disorder but with old age your vision is bound to reduce or you might develop sensitivity to bright light or find it difficult to walk outside during night. Presbyopia is also a common old age eye problem wherein near vision is severely reduced due to loss of flexibility in lens.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 29, 2014

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