Vision problems are universal. Men, women, and children of every race have the same concerns. Each stage of life has its own specific risks. Not everyone will have these issues, but understanding what to watch for can make it possible to identify when a problem is beginning. Since early treatment will often make it easier to preserve eyesight, this type of knowledge is important.
From Birth to Early Childhood
Vision problems are uncommon in young children and babies, but they do happen. Amblyopia, or having a "lazy eye" is a correctable problem where one eye focuses better than the other. A drooping eyelid, known as ptosis is another concern that can be corrected. Mild drooping may not be anything to worry about, but some lids can sag enough to partially block vision. Other vision problems like nearsightedness, and farsightedness can affect children's ability to read or participate in school.
How to Identify Problems: Any physical signs like discharge, redness, or swelling should always be checked by a doctor immediately. Rubbing the eyes excessively, holding books to closely or squinting are signs an eye exam is needed.
Middle to Late Childhood
At this age, children often suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. These issues can make it difficult for them to participate in school or sports because of their inability to see as clearly as they should.
How to Identify Problems: At this age children are generally able to complain when something is wrong. Unfortunately, the issues may have crept up so slowly they are not aware it is happening. Teachers are often the first to notice because the child struggles to see the board, their handwriting is overly messy, or they are unable to read books at their grade level. Straining to see can lead to frequent headaches, a red flag for parents.
Adult Middle Age
Presbyopia is the term for age-related declining vision in adults. After the age of 40, nearly everyone will begin to have difficulty focusing on items up close. Health problems like diabetes, a family history of issues like glaucoma and some prescription medications can accelerate natural aging as well as increase the risk of other vision complications.
How to Identify Problems: Needing more light to read small print, having to remove glasses to read, and finding nighttime driving to be difficult due to the glare from streetlights and oncoming cars are common signs of this condition. Additionally, people may discover their eyes are tearing more and feel sore and tired by the end of the day.
The Senior Years
It is at this age that the largest risk for vision problems begin. About one out of every three people over the age of 65 will have some type of problem with their eyesight. There is a lengthy list of potential concerns, with the three most common being glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. Treating these problems early is especially important to prevent permanent loss of sight.
How to Identify Problems: Most of these concerns are severe enough that the reduced vision alone will be hard for the sufferer to ignore. Others may notice a reduction in the senior's activities, an increased amount of falls or auto accidents, and a cloudy look to their eyes.
At every stage of life, vision exams are the most accurate method for identifying disease and failing eyesight. An annual exam not only protects vision, but overall health. During an exam, an eye doctor like San Juans Vision Source can also identify when patients are suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and high blood pressure.