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October 28, 2013

Aging and Vision

Is your iphone/android getting harder to see?  Are you moving your cell phone further away from your eyes to see it clearer? With age come changes to our vision, some more serious than others. There are things you can do to protect your eye sight. Primarily having your eyes examined annually is key to early detection and diagnosis of vision problems.

Common Eye Problems

The following common eye problems should be monitored.

  • Presbyopia is a gradual loss of the ability to focus or see objects or small print up close. This is a normal aging change that may cause symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and/or tired eyes at the end of the day. Readers, progressives or bifocals can be prescribed as well as multifocal contact lenses.
  • Floaters are spots or “cobwebs” that seem to float across your vision. You may notice these in a well-lit room or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters can be a normal part of aging OR a sign of a more serious problem such as retinal detachment, hole or tear. If you see new floaters and/or flashes of light, come in to see Dr.Farrah immediately as this is a medical emergency.
  • Tearing or watery eyes can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes, or having dry eyes. Dry eyes are more commonly seen in women especially during menopause. Sometimes tearing is a sign of a more serious eye problem, like an infection or a blocked tear duct. If you are experiencing redness, soreness, irritation, burning sensation, sandy-gritty feeling, and blurred vision come in to see Dr. Farrah.
  • Droopy eyelids can be seen when gravity, loss of elastic tissue in the skin, and weakening of the connective tissues of the eyelid frequently contribute to this lax and redundant eyelid tissue commonly affecting the upper eyelids. This can obstruct the superior field of vision, a fullness or heaviness of the upper eyelids, “bags” in the lower eyelids, and wrinkles in the lower eyelids. If you are suffering from droopy eyelids, we can assess the cause and review treatment options.

Eye Diseases And Disorders

The following eye conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness. Early detection leads to better treatment options.

  • Cataracts is a clouding of the eye’s lens causing blurred or hazy vision. Cataracts need to be monitored as the larger they become the greater the vision reduction. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness around the world. If you have a cataract, Dr. Farrah can watch for changes over time to see if you would benefit from surgery with an Ophthalmologist.
  • Glaucoma – Primary Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of Glaucoma resulting from increased fluid pressure inside the eye. If not treated, it can lead to vision loss and blindness and has no early symptoms or pain. Glaucoma if detected early can prevent visual field loss can be managed with prescription eye drops, lasers, and/or surgery.
  • Retinal disorders that affect aging eyes include:
    • Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.  AMD is a common eye condition among people age 50 and older. It affects the macula that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly.  Smoking, age and family history are the biggest risk factors and there are few symptoms in the early stages.  Dr. Farrah will evaluate your macula during your annual eye examination and assess your risk factor for AMD and review ways to be preventative through special dietary supplements.
    • Diabetic retinopathy.  If you have diabetes, be sure to have a dilated eye exam covered by Alberta Health Care once a year.  Dr. Farrah will communicate with your general practitioner regarding your ocular findings.   Keeping your blood sugar under control can prevent diabetic retinopathy or slow down its progression.
    • Retinal detachment IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. The retina separates from the back of the eye causing symptoms of new floaters, flashing light, and/or curtain veiling over your eye.  If you experience these symptoms give our office a call immediately, Surgery or laser treatment can often prevent loss of vision.


Being preventative is key to maintaining good vision over your lifetime. Tips Dr. Farrah recommends to patients include:

  1. Annual eye examinations for all ages. Do not take your vision for granted – you only have 2 eyes so protect them for life.
  2. Wearing sun wear all year long to prevent damage to all parts of the eye.
  3. Exercising 30 minutes daily (cadio) to maintain good heart and eye health
  4. Eating a healthy diet: up to 5 fruits and veggies a day (especially dark leafy greens), taking your Vitamin D or getting adequate sunshine daily, omega 3 or having salmon at least 1-2 times a week, drinking enough water throughout the day, and reducing caffeine intake.
  5. Taking breaks on the computer via the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take your eyes off your computer and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Enjoying your life and taking a moment during the day to be grateful for everything you have including good eyesight.

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