It’s a universal fact that our eyesight is dependent on our health and age. Several types of research on aging and vision have been done to understand how and why the ability of a human to visualize deteriorates with aging. Baby Boomers and Generation X are at high risk of unavoidably worsening their vision with age.
As the population of people over age 60 increases, the eye disorders, diseases, and vision impairments associated with aging increases too. A substantial segment of the US is facing this health challenge when compared to previous decades. Therefore, there exists a pressing need to analyze and recognize several age-related vision impairments and the mechanisms underlying these impairments.
Two of the most worse yet common age-related eye conditions are glaucoma and macular degeneration. These disorders pose some severe threats to vision, jeopardizing the living and making it difficult for the patient to read. According to a survey by the National Association for Eye and Vision Research, blindness is among the public’s top health fears.
Moreover, an extensive survey also concluded that 41 million Americans of age 40 or more are dealing with cases of low vision, age-related eye diseases, and blindness. This number is predicted to grow to 64 million by 2032.
The process of visualizing through our eyes is completed with four structures. The chronological order of these structures is Cornea-Eye Lens-Retina-Optic Nerve. Any problem with any of these four structures is mostly responsible for the deterioration in our vision.
Cornea forms the visual perception of an object with light rays it’s quite essential for acquiring a clear image. The quality of vision gets affected if the transparent surface of the cornea thins out and is not smooth anymore. A thin layer of tear protects the corneal surface, but this layer dries out with progressive aging. However, there are certain conditions such as blepharitis which can damage the surface of the cornea.
The human eye lens is also subject to the aging process, the conditions such as presbyopia and cataracts are examples of some lens related disorders that develop with progressive age. When we are born, our lenses are pliable, which means they can change their shape to focus on images that are either very close or far. Unfortunately, with aging eye lens begins to get cloudy and becomes less pliable. Such conditions lead to diminished vision and lose its ability to focus on images.
A deterioration or tandem in the retina or the optic nerve can lead to severe conditions, even blinding. The retina in our eyes is a very complex tissue that converts the light image entering the eye into a neural signal. These signals are then transmitted to the brain by the optic nerve (to be precise, by ganglion cells). Several studies have explained that in the absence of disease, there is nearly no significant deterioration noticed in the optic nerve and retina. But, common diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration may affect the retina and optic nerves adversely. However, early detection of these diseases can help in preventing and minimizing the extent of vision loss.