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Over 40? Watch for Signs of These Common Vision Problems



Over 40 Watch for Signs of These Common Vision Problems

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Aging begins the second you are born. There’s no getting around it and the best you can hope for is to age gracefully. Middle age can be tough as that is generally when things start to change. At 40 and beyond, you lose a step, so to speak. Athletic performance declines, hair starts to gray, and you need a physical exam every year. Reflexes slow down and some people don’t hear quite a well. Vision can also be impacted. There are several vision problems that are common in people over 40 and you should know the symptoms and be mindful of when they occur. Many of them are treatable as long as you seek medical attention as soon as you become symptomatic.


One of the most common vision problems that afflict people over 40 is cataracts. Cataracts happen on the lens, the part of the eye behind the iris that focuses light onto the retina in the same way that a camera lens focuses light. As you age, proteins and fibers in the lens tend to break down. They can clump together and cause cloudy spots on the lens that distort or block light. Cataracts can occur on the edges, middle, or back of the lenses and cause a number of vision problems. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Some common symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Seeing halos or glare around light sources, especially at night
  • Sensitivity to bright sunlight or artificial light sources
  • Colors seem less vibrant and seemed tinged with yellow or brown
  • Difficulty reading and focusing on close objects

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Yearly eye exams with an ophthalmologist are recommended and if you show any of these symptoms you should certainly have an eye exam. Cataracts are easily corrected with surgery. Visit to find a surgeon for cataract surgery near you.

Other Vision Problems After 40

Although cataracts are the most common, they are not the only possible vision problem to affect the over 40 crowd. There are several other eye diseases that people over 40 are at an increased risk of getting.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is an eye disease in which tissues of the optic nerve deteriorate. In its early stages, symptoms are subtle but eventually, peripheral vision is impaired. It can lead to complete blindness if not treated.

Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration affects the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye where rods, cones, and photoreceptors react to the light focused on them. This disease occurs when waste products begin to deposit on the retina. It causes blurred or distorted vision, blind spots, and difficulty distinguishing color. Macular degeneration doesn’t cause blindness but it can seriously downgrade your quality of life.

Presbyopia – Presbyopia is very common in people over 40 and occurs as the lens loses flexibility due to aging. This makes it very difficult to focus on objects closer than arm’s length and affects reading. Small print becomes especially hard to read and eye strain and blurred vision are common. Presbyopia is easily corrected with glasses, bifocals, or contact lenses. It also helps to utilize brighter light sources when reading.

Floaters – Floaters appear as specks or small dots that seem to float in front of the eyes when looking at a blank wall or the sky. They are caused by the clump of the material within the eye. It has a consistency similar to jelly can stick into lumps. The floaters are the shadows of these lumps. Floaters are a normal part of aging and generally harmless but if the number of them increases or you see flashes of light or experience vision problems, they can be indicators of a serious eye problem.

Eyelid Issues – The eyelids of aging adults will sometimes sag. Skin loses its elasticity as you age and this happens to eyelids as well as any other part of the body. In some cases, the drooping eyelids make block part of your field of vision or become irritated and cause itching. In these cases, seek medical help. This is a treatable condition.

The more you know, the better able you will be to know when to seek diagnosis and treatment. Check out this resource if you want to know more about common vision problems over 40.

Aging comes with its difficulties. One of these is eye problems. Having a yearly eye exam is important for people over 40. It also helps to know the symptoms of eye disease and be able to recognize them if they occur.

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