Vision and ageing

Our eyes, just like the rest of our body, change with age. Some age-related eye changes, such as presbyopia (loss of near focus) are perfectly normal - they're not a sign of anything other than ageing, and only require appropriate glasses.  Other conditions, such as cataracts, can be considered an age-related disease. Cataracts are very common and can be corrected by removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear plastic implant.  


Some of us, however, will experience more serious age-related eye diseases that have greater potential for affecting our quality of life as we grow older. These conditions include glaucomamacular degeneration and diabetic eye disease (retinopathy).


At Paul Adler Optometrists, we can detect and monitor these conditions and advise you about treatment.


If you would like advice about any concerns you have please make an appointment.  If you would like more information, you can download our information sheet by clicking on the topics below:


How ageing affects other eye structures

While normally we think of ageing as it relates to conditions such as presbyopia and cataracts, more subtle changes in our vision and eye structures also take place as we grow older.


These changes include:

  • Smaller pupils which become less responsive to light changes.

  • Older people are more likely to suffer glare and dazzled by bright sunlight and on-coming headlights. Spectacles with photochromic lenses and anti-reflective coating can help and there are special lenses for driving. People in their 60s also need three times more light for comfortable reading than those in their 20s.

  • Dry eyes (which become more common by the time you reach your 70s and 80s).
  • Peripheral visual field loss of 20 to 30 degrees may also develop with age.

  • Normal colour vision declines in sensitivity as we age, causing colours to become less bright and the contrast between different colours to be less noticeable.

  • The gel-like vitreous inside the eye begins to liquefy and pull away from the retina, causing "spots and floaters" and (sometimes) flashes of light. This condition, called vitreous detachment, is usually harmless, but always needs to be checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to make sure it isn't anything more serious.