How Your Eyes Change Over Time

Part of aging is the process of our bodies undergoing changes and often don’t function the way they once did. No where is this more noticeable than in the changes we experience in our vision. Most can be easily dealt with through corrective lenses or routine procedures. There are some age related conditions that are more serious and can severely impact a person’s quality of life.

What can you expect

After the age of 40 most everyone will experience presbyopia which is simply being unable to see as clearly. This is a natural process and there is no way for a person to prevent it from happening. The first indication may be holding a newspaper at arm’s length to see better or a computer monitor appearing blurry. Generally a pair of “readers“ from a rack at the drugstore without a prescription will solve the issue.

Cataracts can be age related however not everyone will develop them in their lifetime. Characterized by a clouding of the lense of the eye there are steps you can take to prevent cataracts.

Conditions of the eyes such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are a much more serious issue. As a leading cause of blindness among seniors macular degeneration can greatly affect a person’s quality of life.These conditions have a more positive outcome if caught and dealt with early.

When it comes to your eyes and age related visions problems there are changes you can make to avoid some of these conditions. Developing and leading an active, healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and regular exercise will keep your eyes healthy. Along with a healthier lifestyle detecting vision problems early before they become a larger issue is key. As part of maintaining healthy eyes, remember to book an annual eye exam for a comprehensive eye exam with an Calgary Optometrist. Contact us today to book an appointment.

Tips For Coping With Vision Loss

As we age it’s quite normal to experience our ability to see things as clearly as we once did. The pupil of the eye does not open as widely as it once did to allow as much light to reach the retina where vision processing occurs.

Taking steps to increase illumination improves the ability to see better in those dark spaces. Installing under cabinet lighting or increasing lighting in the sewing room, garage or other work areas will help. Consider asking your employer to improve lighting if it’s needed there is well.

For some people age related diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are more serious. Many low vision devices are available to assist those with permanent vision loss that are helpful with daily living challenges.

Some of these devices are:

  • Strong magnification lenses with extra illumination for reading and other near vision work
  • Audio tapes, specifically adapted computer or television screens and telescopes
  • Lens filter shields to reduce glare

Reading materials such as books, magazines and newspapers are also available in large print format enabling those with severe vision loss to continue something they enjoy.

For those experiencing permanent vision loss it can feel as if they are losing their independence. But don’t be discouraged it is very possible to lead an active and fulfilling life. There are organizations that provide low vision devices for example and support for anyone experiencing vision loss. Taking extra precautions to be sure surroundings are safe by checking for obstacles on outdoor pathways lessens chances of a fall. Indoors furniture placement can make a difference to easily move about their home.

Something that can’t be mentioned enough is making sure you have an eye exam for older eyes to rule out any age related diseases that may affect your vision. For those residing in the Calgary area, contact us today to book an appointment.

Your Eyes Need UV Protection Even on Cloudy Days

Did you know that even UV rays are harmful even on cloudy days in Calgary? In fact because people usually don’t wear sunglasses on overcast days, exposure over time really adds up and can increase your risk of cataracts, glaucoma or age related macular degeneration and other serious eye defects. There are many things you can do to prevent this though:

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight from 11am-3pm: This is when the UV index is at it’s peak, putting you at risk. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside, but it’s important to try to take the  necessary precautions whenever it’s possible.
  • If you wear contact lenses be sure to ask our Calgary Optometrists for a brand that has UV protection: There are many brands that offer UV protection so be sure you include this factor in your purchase decision.
  • Wear a hat: Shield your eyes from the sun whenever possible. The bigger the brim the better, as a bigger brim provides more protection.

Last but certainly not least:

  • Always, always wear sunglasses: You can virtually eliminate your risk by wearing sunglasses whenever you are outside. Shop around and try different tints to ensure you’re very comfortable in all shades of light. If you find yourself taking your sunglasses off all the time because they’re uncomfortable or obstructing your vision you will need to find something that works for you. Our Optometrists in Calgary spend the time with you ensure a great fit and tint just for you.

A very important factor in avoiding the risks of UV is protecting your children. Most of the damage is done by the time a child reaches 18, due to the fact children spend so much time outside and their eyes aren’t capable of filtering as well as an adults. Make sure your kids learn to love their hats and sunglasses using positive reinforcement and you’ll be doing them a huge favour for their future.

UV’s Role in Eye Disease

With spring already here in Calgary and summer just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to explain UV’s role in eye disease.

Eye doctors have already warned people about the harmful effects of UV or ultraviolet light radiation to the eyes. Too much UV exposure can result in age-related macular degeneration, cataract development, snow-blindness and even pinguecula or pterygium.

However, at present, these eye problems carry on escalating even if a lot of spectacles, contact lenses, and intraocular lens have UV protection coatings in them. This article will tackle at the recent understanding about UV exposure and a few of the most common and also rare conditions that optometrists face when it comes to damages from UV light.

Three Forms of Ultraviolet Light

UVA has a wavelength of 315nm to 380nm and can pierce through the skin. This is sometimes linked with tanning but is also associated with skin aging.

UVB has a much as smaller wavelength compared to UVA, 280nm to 215nm. UVB doesn’t pierce through the skin as intensely as UVA since it is mostly absorbed by the epidermis. So, it can be a more harmful type of UV light that can lead to sunburn or erythema, skin blisters, and possible different skin cancers.

UVC has a wavelength of 100nm to 280nm and is considered to be the most damaging to the skin, which ends up in skin cancer. Luckily, much of UVC is absorbed in the ozone layer and doesn’t enter the surface of the earth.

The light that reaches the earth mainly consists of roughly 95% UVA light and 5% UVB/UVC.

UVB and most particularly UVC are absorbed by the molecules of the DNA, so that’s why many experts think that these are the ones with the extreme effect on changing skin tissue and are linked with various skin cancers.

UVC is also the type that stages a vital role in cataract genesis and also macular degeneration. UVC can, in fact, create free radicals that affect the DNA. UVC has the capability to disturb structures like collagen, which are dominant in the conjunctiva and cornea and also glycans like hyaluronic acid

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Light

It is advisable to wear appropriate eye protection and headgear to block UV rays. To effectively protect your eyes, sunglasses must:

  • Suppress 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Block 75 to 90% of visible light
  • Be perfectly coordinated in colour and free of distortion and imperfection
  • Use grey lenses for proper colour recognition

We hope you’ve learnt about UV’s role in eye disease. If you need an eye exam in Calgary, Dr. Alex G. Wilson & Associates are here to help.