When we think of aging, our first thoughts snap to graying hairs and wrinkled skin, but every part of our body ages at a different pace. Many people are seeing their first gray hairs in their 20s and their first crow’s feet before 30, long before we would begin to consider them “elderly”.
The Health and Beauty industries are working at a breakneck pace to slow the impact of aging. There are specialized treatments for signs of age in your skin, your digestive system, and your energy levels. Humans have employed everything from ancient herbal remedies to high tech lasers to counter the effects of time.
We know that no amount of surgery or night cream will stop the aging process, but we do our best to slow it, and to stay as healthy and young on the outside as we feel inside. Not the “reflux and aching knees” inside, but the “hunger for adventure and taco pizza” inside.
Our eyes age depending on our lifestyle, heredity, and environment. Just like every other part of our anatomy, they require maintenance and nurturing to keep them healthy and sharp for as long as possible. When our vision begins to fail us, it’s easy to chalk it up to getting older, but when does it become a problem? This month, ilumin has put together a short list of eye issues you should be aware of, and a few that are nothing to worry about.
A few vision symptoms you should never ignore include:
- Blurry Vision – If your vision is beginning to become less sharp, it very likely means you need a different prescription. The longer you go without the proper lenses, the harder your eyes must strain. This can lead to sensitivity, headaches, and worse – Deeper wrinkles as you squint to see. If youth is the name of the game, the wrinkles are going to give you away in no time!
- Presbyopia – A normal aging change that typically appears in the early 40s, presbyopia occurs when the lens of the eye becomes rigid and less flexible, and less able to thicken. This makes it more difficult to focus on nearby objects. The solution is as simple as reading glasses or bifocal lenses. While it may feel like a minor surrender to age, refusing to use a prescription ages your eyes faster, as they are forced to strain to see.
- Floaters or Flashing Lights – One or two floaters are really nothing to worry about. If you see many, however, it could signal a detaching retina. If you see what appears to be a flock of birds in your periphery, make an appointment asap.
- Black Out – If your vision slips away from you, even for just a few minutes, this could be a very serious warning sign. While not usually directly vision related, sudden vision loss can be a symptom of a very serious circulation issue, and can warn you of a blockage in the carotid artery. Long story short, seek medical attention immediately.
- Trauma – A snowball fight ends with a bit of ice to the eye. Reading a book and you turn a page too close to your face and have a tiny papercut on your eye. Rushing out the door leads to a poke with the mascara wand. These things happen every day, and often go unaddressed. By the time infection sets in, you may not remember where it even started. Call right away to determine the seriousness of the trauma, and be prepared for eye drops, and possible antibiotics to stop an infection before it affects your vision.
The most common cause of headaches and vision problems that we see is simply wearing the wrong prescription. If you’re in the wrong glasses, you’re basically not wearing glasses. This stress can age your eyes, inside and out! From the strain of trying to focus to the damage to the surrounding s kin as you squint to see. If you’re not wearing the right glasses, you’re not wearing glasses right.
Many eye diseases show no symptoms early on, but can be detected with a thorough dilated eye exam. Retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts tend to develop slowly and painlessly, but early diagnosis can slow or stop vision loss. It’s important to be seen regularly to continue, well. Seeing regularly.
On the other hand, we often see people truly worried over issues that are nothing to worry about! While we’re always excited to see you, don’t worry about making a rush appointment for any of these issues:
- Stye – Usually found on the edge of the eyelid, styes often make the sufferer a bit nervous. Caused by a blocked eyelash follicle, they can often become quite swollen and inflamed. They will go away on their own in about a week, and a warm compress can offer a bit of relief.
- Pink-Eye – Contagious Conjunctivitis, it sounds just as scary as it can look! As intimidating as the name, and as unpleasant as it appears, Pink-Eye will run its course on its own. If you’re truly worried, an antibiotic eyedrop prescription can be called in to avoid a secondary infection, but it’s usually nothing to worry about.
- Twitch – You’ve been working longer hours than usual, your kids are all on conflicting school schedules, and stress is a little high. Then it hits. Twitch. This is it, you think. My time has finally come. Well, try not to be alarmed. The sudden, involuntary flutter of your eyelid isn’t a harbinger of your end. In fact, it’s probably just a heads up to start taking things a little easier. A symptom of stress, and sometimes of lack of sleep, an eye twitch has more to do with your nervous system than your actual eye. Our official prescription, a yoga class and a nap. If that doesn’t work, take two. Vision is part of whole-body health, and stress can take a toll on all of your body’s systems.
August was National Eye Exam Month. We made sure we celebrated, but the party wasn't as fun without YOU! Be sure to give us a call if you have any vision issues you’re worried about, or if it’s just been a while! We’re always happy to see you, and to keep you seeing well!