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Early Signs of Vision Loss

As you age, you may notice that you're holding the newspaper closer than you used to, or you're taking longer to adjust to changes in lighting. Although its nearly inevitable that we all will need (stronger) eyeglass prescriptions as we grow older, it is important to recognize that vision loss from eye diseases is not a “natural” part of aging. Although age is a risk factor for many conditions, eye disease can (and should) be prevented and treated at any age.

Vision loss is highest among older people and is increasing each year. But the truth is that in most of these cases, vision loss could have been prevented and treated if caught early. Many older adults may not be as forthcoming about problems with their vision because they are more preoccupied with other health problems, such as loss of mobility, agility, hearing, speech and memory. Smart lifestyle choices, regular eye exams and early detection of disease can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health and vision as you age.

Some signs to watch for:

  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare (such as difficulty reading glossy magazines or an increased need to use sunglasses)
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors (mismatched clothes, socks, etc.)
  • More clumsiness than usual (bumping into objects and people, missing steps and falling more often)
  • Reduced night or low light vision
  • Straight lines that appear wavy, such as the sides of a building
  • Trouble reading small print, such as on a medication bottle or in the phone book

If you suspect a loved one may be losing his or her vision, book an appointment with an eye doctor immediately. An eye doctor can determine whether the signs you are noticing are a result of aging (perhaps it simply requires a stronger eyeglass prescription) or if they are connected to a serious eye condition.