Just like most things, the eye is not able to keep up perfect performance forever. Over time, parts of it wear out, which leads to a gradual worsening of vision with increasing age. The most common age-related changes are cataracts and presbyopia.
Put simply, everybody is confronted with one of them at some point sooner or later in their lives. These visual impairments can be very disruptive to everyday life. However, the changes are a normal part of aging and should not stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle or from maintaining your independence, because they can be treated.
Presbyopia is part of the natural aging process of the eye and usually begins to occur around the age of 40. Technically, presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to change its focus to see objects that are near. It is not a disease, it is as natural as having wrinkles at some point in life. People experience blurred near vision even if they have never had a vision problem before.
The lens of an eye is normally clear and transparent. If the lens becomes cloudy or is opacified, it is called a cataract. As people reach their mid-40s, biochemical changes occur in the proteins within the lens. That’s why the likelihood of developing cataracts increases with age. Cataracts develop slowly and symptoms appear gradually over time. They cannot be treated with glasses or medication. The only permanent solution is a surgical replacement of the natural lens with an intraocular lens. Read everything about the causes, risk factors, diagnosis of and treatment options for, cataracts on the following pages.