GO EASY ON YOUR EYES: Having a hard time reading up close? Join the club. It's one of the most common problems as we age. And it's no surprise that supermarket reading glasses now come in numerous styles — and strengths — for newly farsighted baby boomers. But there are more serious eye problems that, left untreated, could cause serious eye impairment or blindness.
"The good news is that most people can preserve their vision with proper treatment, so the key is early detection," said Mark Wilkinson, O.D., chairman of the American Optometric Association's rehabilitation section. "Some common warning signs of age-related vision problems include fluctuating vision, seeing floaters or flashes of light, loss of side vision and seeing distorted images," said Wilkinson. "However, often patients with eye diseases do not have recognizable symptoms until the conditions are quite advanced." Here's a roundup of some of the most common eye disorders as we age. Times wires
Age-related macular degeneration: A disease that causes loss of central vision. Activities like reading, driving, watching TV and recognizing faces all require clear central vision.
Diabetic retinopathy: A condition occurring in people with diabetes that causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. If left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Glaucoma: A group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve resulting in peripheral vision loss. People at higher risk of developing glaucoma include those with a family history of the disease, older adults, African-Americans and Hispanics.
Cataracts: A cloudy or opaque area in the clear lens of the eye. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts can cause a decrease in contrast sensitivity, a dulling of colors and increased sensitivity to glare.
Retinal detachment: A tearing or separation of the retina from the underlying tissue. This can be caused by trauma to the eye or head, health problems due to advanced diabetes, and inflammatory disorders of the eye.