UNDERSTANDING YOUR VISION

THE HEALTHY EYE ALLOWS IMAGES TO BE SEEN CLEARLY,
 AT A RANGE OF DISTANCES

In the healthy eye, light passes through the cornea, pupil, and lens where it is then focused on the back of the eye (the retina). The retina relays these light signals to the brain along the optic nerve where the signals are translated into images.

understanding your vision

YOUR VISION WITH AGE

AGE IS ONE FACTOR THAT AFFECTS HOW THE EYE WORKS

With age, the structure and function of the eye can change resulting in light being distorted away and no longer correctly reflected on the retina. Additionally, the lens can start to become cloudy, preventing light from reaching the retina.

This can mean images may start to appear cloudy or blurry at some or all distances.

As changes can be gradual you may not realise you are no longer seeing things as clearly as you should. Regular eye examinations are important to monitor your eye health.

If you feel you are no longer able to see as clearly as you would like, at all distances, make an appointment to see your eye care professional.

understanding your vision

.

COMMON EYE CONDITIONS

There are a series of common eye conditions that can impact the clarity of your vision, some of which are age-related. Three of the most common conditions are explored below:

COMMON VISION CONDITIONS

Presbyopia
Astigmatism
Cataract

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that usually begins around the age of 40. With presbyopia there is a gradual loss of flexibility in the eye’s natural lens and surrounding muscles. This means the lens no longer converges light correctly on the retina.

The effect is blurred vision, making it difficult to read or see near objects without corrective lenses such as glasses. For example, it can be hard to read the instructions on medicine bottles or to read the labels on food packaging on the supermarket shelf.

Astigmatism is very common; most people have some degree of astigmatism.

Astigmatism results from the lens and/ or the cornea curve being irregular. This irregularity can distort where light converges in the eye and prevent the retina from being able to gather light signals effectively.

With astigmatism images seem blurry, particularly at certain distances (so at either near, intermediate or far distances). If you have an astigmatism, you will need corrective lenses such as glasses to allow you to see clearly at the distances affected by your astigmatism.

A cataract is a very common age-related condition; it is more likely you will have a cataract than not if you are over the age of 60.

As the eye ages, the lens gradually becomes cloudier. Light that makes it to the retina can be diffused or scattered, leaving vision defocused and blurry.

A cataract can only be treated with surgery, it cannot be rectified with glasses, contact lenses or eye drops.

HOW DO I KNOW
I HAVE A CATARACT?

Because a cataract can build up slowly over the years, you may not even notice the effect it has on your vision.

Fortunately, your eye care professional can help you detect a cataract early through standard eye and retinal examinations. Regular eye examinations are important to monitor your eye health.

CATARACT SYMPTOMS

contract symptom

When you have a cataract, it can seem like you are looking through a foggy window. At first, only a small part of your vision is cloudy. But as the cataract grows over time, the cloudy area will get larger and your vision may become duller and blurrier.

contract symptom

As a cataract gets worse, it will block more light from reaching the retina. This makes it harder to see and drive at night. You may also need more light for indoor activities such as reading.

A cataract can make your eyes more sensitive to light. You may notice that indoor lights seem too bright and you may have trouble seeing in bright sunlight.

When you have a cataract, lights may appear to have halos around them. You may also notice glare around streetlights and traffic lights, making it hard to drive at night.

At first, colours may appear faded. Your vision may also start to have a yellow-ish brown tinge. This is gradual at first but may eventually get to the point where you may have trouble telling the difference between black, blue, and purple.

A cataract can sometimes cause double vision, where you see two images of a single object at the same time. This occurs even when you only have one eye open.

You may need to change your glasses and contact lens prescriptions more frequently. Strangely, some people may even notice an improvement in their near vision and may no longer need their reading glasses for a while. This is sometimes called second sight and usually goes away as the cataract gets worse.