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了解眼睛老化的跡像以及如何仔細管理它們

aging eyes

是否需要更多地關注閱讀標籤或檢查手機中的電子郵件?還是很難理解,那是藍色還是綠色?嗯,隨著年齡的增長,這無疑是常見的。隨著年齡的增長,我們的身體會發生不同的變化,我們的眼睛也會改變。視力喪失或損害是隨衰老而發生的最普遍的變化之一。

地球上至少有 22 億人存在一定程度的視力障礙。其中至少有 10 億例有可避免或未經治療的視力障礙。

在本文中,我們將了解眼睛老化最常見的跡象,並討論如何處理和預防它們。

年齡對眼睛的影響

隨著年齡的增長,您的視力會自然地發生一些變化。美國國家眼科研究所表示,雖然具體的改變是可以預料的,但其他的改變可能會令人擔憂。

隨著年齡的增長,眼睛會發生一些變化,包括:

  • 瞳孔尺寸減少:肌肉調節瞳孔尺寸和光敏感性,其強度隨著年齡的增長而減弱。結果,瞳孔收縮並失去對光的敏感性,60多歲的人需要比20多歲的人三倍的環境光才能舒適地閱讀。此外,當離開電影院等光線昏暗的建築物時,老年人更容易被明亮的陽光和眩光弄瞎。
  • 淚液產生減少:老化可能會導致淚腺產生的眼淚減少,從而導致乾眼症。
  • 水晶體彈性降低:隨著年齡的增長,我們眼睛的水晶體彈性會降低,這使得聚焦附近的物體變得更加困難。
  • 色調的變化:顏色感知的變化可能會使某些人難以區分相同顏色的不同色調之間的差異。
  • 眼部疾病的風險增加:常見的眼部疾病,包括白內障、青光眼和老年黃斑部病變 (AMD),在老化的眼睛中似乎更常見。

導致眼睛老化的因素

正常的老化過程是眼睛老化的重要原因。但也研究了其他因素,

  • 生活方式選擇:不良的飲食選擇、身體活動不足以及長時間使用電腦都可能損害視力。(1) (2) (3)
  • 環境因素:許多研究證明,環境污染可能會加速眼睛的老化過程。
  • 遺傳:毫無疑問,家族史通常在眼睛老化中發揮重要作用。例如,青光眼和老年黃斑部病變(AMD)是常見的遺傳性疾病。有年齡相關性黃斑部病變家族史的人患這種疾病的可能性是其他人的四倍。
  • 已有疾病:患有糖尿病或高血壓等已有疾病或服用對眼睛有潛在不良影響的藥物的人,視力喪失的風險最高。這就是為什麼隨著年齡的增長,定期檢查眼睛變得更加重要。

眼睛老化的症狀

隨著年齡的增長,保護我們寶貴的視力並保持眼睛處於良好狀態的最佳方法是意識到衰老的跡像以及隨之而來的變化。讓我們看看眼睛老化最常見的症狀。

視力模糊:由於眼睛老化,視力可能會變得模糊或失焦,使物體看起來模糊或失焦。這可能會使看清細節變得更加困難。它通常出現在 40 歲出頭,並發展到 60 多歲

色覺下降:視網膜中負責色覺的視錐細胞和視桿細胞的數量隨著年齡的增長而減少。這可能會導致調色板普遍減少並且難以區分顏色。

眼睛疼痛和不適:眼睛老化有時會引起疼痛或不適,並伴隨發紅、搔癢或灼熱感。

在低光源下看東西困難:視力可能需要幫助調整以適應昏暗的照明,這使得看清周圍的路變得更加困難,並且有些人比其他人需要更長的時間來適應新的照明條件。這是因為視桿細胞對於在昏暗燈光下看東西至關重要,但據信其強度會隨著年齡的增長而下降。在這種情況下,夜間或惡劣天氣駕駛更具挑戰性,原因之一是。

眼睛疲勞:閱讀、使用螢幕和其他視覺疲勞活動可能會加劇眼睛疲勞。眼睛沉重或疲勞的感覺是眼睛疲勞的常見症狀。

飛蚊症/閃光:飛蚊症是漂浮在視野中的小點或形狀,類似蜘蛛網。閃光在您的周圍表現為短暫的閃光。這些由眼內玻璃體凝膠變化引起的現象隨著年齡的增長而變得更加普遍。

週邊視力下降:有證據表明,每十年,週邊視力就會下降 1-3 度。有些人到了 70 歲生日時,週邊視力已經喪失了 20-30 度。

週邊視力喪失可能是老化的自然現象,但也可能是青光眼等更嚴重疾病的徵兆。因此,如果您的視力有任何變化或視力喪失,您應該進行眼科檢查以排除任何潛在的嚴重問題。

對眩光或強光的敏感度增加:與年齡相關的眼睛對光和眩光的敏感度變化很常見。有些人在夜間或強烈陽光下駕駛時可能會感到不安。即使在適應新的照明條件時也可能會發生變化,例如從明亮的房間變成黑暗的房間。

深度和長度知覺的變化:深度知覺通常會隨著年齡的增長而受損,這使得精確評估距離變得更加困難。

睡眠不足:有證據表明,我們吸收藍光的能力會隨著年齡的增長而降低。這解釋了為什麼隨著年齡的增長,我們的身體產生的褪黑激素減少,這可能會擾亂我們的晝夜節律。據推測,青光眼和糖尿病眼疾患者更容易有睡眠障礙。

眼瞼問題:睫毛發紅、腫脹、發癢、流淚、夜間結痂都是常見眼瞼問題的症狀。要完全忽略此類情況,請點擊此處閱讀我們的專門文章。

這些症狀可能單獨出現或組合出現,其強度範圍也很大。如果您遇到這些症狀,您應該諮詢眼科醫生以獲得準確的診斷和建議。

最常見的與年齡相關的眼部疾病

Understanding the symptoms and causes of age-related eye diseases is essential for preserving good vision. Some of the most prevalent age-related eye problems are as follows:

1. Presbyopia: Farsightedness

Presbyopia is an age-related type of farsightedness that affects the vast majority of people over 40, and a total of 1.8 billion people are suffering from it worldwide.  Although presbyopia is a typical feature of aging, it may make simple tasks like reading and using a computer more difficult. In presbyopia, the eye lens becomes hard due to aging-related changes, thus causing symptoms to show. 

The common signs of presbyopia have to hold reading material farther away to concentrate on it, difficulty seeing fine print, needing more light to read, eyestrain, or tired eyes.

Presbyopia is caused by natural aging and cannot be prevented or reversed, although it is treatable with corrective lenses or surgery.

2. Dry Eyes

The cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eyeball, is protected by the tears our eyes produce. However, chronic inflammation from exposure to the sun and wind and high blood pressure, stress, and other causes may reduce tear production over time. In their 50s, many people report experiencing scorching, stinging, or even teary eyes.

It could cause discomfort, burn, or make your eyes feel sandy or like something is in them. Age is a significant factor in the development of dry eye, particularly in women, mainly after menopause

Although artificial tears and saline lubricating drops are not a solution for dry eyes, they may help alleviate symptoms and maintain good vision.

Loss of central vision is one of the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This eye illness primarily affects the macula (the retina’s central portion responsible for processing light entering the eye). 

3. Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is a series of eye conditions that cause a gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision due to optic nerve injury. The term “sneak thief of sight” describes glaucoma since most individuals don’t realize there is a problem until some vision has been lost. It usually affects both eyes. However, it may begin in one. According to the CDC, Glaucoma affects around 3 million U.S. citizens.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness if not addressed. As already told, until severe loss of side vision, glaucoma may not cause any discomfort or visible symptoms.

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

The chance of getting glaucoma increases with age and race (particularly among blacks). Glaucoma is irreversible and cannot be treated.  However, vision loss can be delayed or stopped if detected early. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive eye exam to detect glaucoma early.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes suffer from an eye-related condition known as Diabetic retinopathy, which is more likely to occur in those who have had the disease for longer. 

The National Eye Institute (NEI) estimates that one in every 12 people with diabetes over 40 has severe, vision-threatening retinopathy. This number rises to 60% for people with undiagnosed diabetes.

It results from gradual damage to the retina’s tiny blood vessels. When blood and other fluids leak out of these broken blood vessels, they cause the retinal tissue to enlarge and obscure vision. Furthermore, fluctuating glucose readings may affect the illness’s progression and severity. 

aging eyes

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

In its first stages, there may be no apparent symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, but as the disease progresses, individuals may have visual problems such as blurred or wavy vision, blind spots, floaters (floating spots or streaks in your vision), difficulty seeing in the dark, and a diminished perception of colors. It may lead to permanent vision loss in its most severe forms.

The American Diabetes Association encourages people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and women with either type who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy to undergo diabetic retinopathy screening.

The simplest way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to control your diabetes carefully, but if you notice any changes in your vision, consult your eye doctor immediately.

5. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Loss of central vision is one of the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

This eye illness primarily affects the macula (the retina’s central portion responsible for processing light entering the eye). The macula enables a person to see fine details and is necessary for activities such as reading and driving. Macular degeneration causes a loss of central vision but does not affect peripheral or side vision. 

The most common reason for blindness in the United States. There are now 11 million Americans with this condition, projected to rise to approximately 22 million by 2050

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

About 1.5 million people have advanced AMD, which can cause impaired or distorted central vision in one or both eyes, blind or hazy patches, and a diminished ability to see colors. Still, the majority have early-stage AMD, which usually produces no symptoms.

Earlier detection and treatment of dry AMD can prevent or significantly reduce vision loss in the later stages of the disease. Taking a multivitamin and a mineral supplement may slow the progression of AMD.

While there is currently no treatment for this condition, one may reduce the risk factors by eating well, being physically active, avoiding smoking, and using sunglasses when one goes outside.

6. Cataracts 

Cataracts happen when proteins from the eye’s lens start to break down, and the deposits build up on the lens’s surface around the age of 40s. When this happens, the usually clear eye lens becomes opaque, making it hard to see. Depending on their size, they may irritate the eye. One may be more severely affected.

Gradually, as the cataract progresses, the lens will turn yellow and sometimes even brown. This can cause difficulty identifying between different shades of color and, if left neglected, can eventually result in total vision loss.

The National Eye Institute reports that 2.5% of Americans aged 40–49 have cataracts, which rises progressively to over 50% among those aged 75–79. It has also been estimated that Cataracts affect 50% of people in the U.S. who are 75 or older, increasing the risk rate. 

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Cataracts may make it difficult to focus, reduce contrast, reduce visibility in low-light situations (like nighttime driving), soften colors, and make it challenging to tolerate glare.

Wearing sunglasses, avoiding tobacco use, and eating healthily especially dark leafy greens, are all great ways to protect your eyes from cataracts. Cataracts can only be cured surgically, and high-quality surgical removal alternatives are available. Replacing the clouded natural lens with an artificial lens is an effective treatment for cataracts.

7. Floaters & Flashes

Floaters as seen in the eyes

Floaters are tiny spots or specks that look floating across our field of sight. They are caused by changes in the vitreous gel inside the eye and are easier to see when the background is bright. Flashes, on the other hand, appear in the visual field as short streaks of light.

Floaters and flashes are usually unharmful, but if they start happening suddenly or worsen, it could be a sign of a more serious eye problem that must be resolved immediately.

Migraine headaches are a common trigger for flashes. In most situations, floaters and flashes will go away on their own. However, surgery is an option for more severe cases.

8. Retinal Detachment

When the retina is torn or comes loose from its supporting tissues, it is called a retinal detachment. Most cases of retinal detachment develop on their own, brought on by shifts in the vitreous fluid, a gel-like substance that fills the back of the eye. Inflammatory eye conditions, severe diabetes, and trauma to the eye or head are other potential causes. People over the age of 40 seem to be more affected. 

Retinal detachment is painless, but the longer it continues untreated. If only a tiny portion of your retina has detached, you may not experience any symptoms. Nonetheless, if a more significant portion of your retina is detached, you may not be able to see as clearly as usual and may experience other abrupt symptoms, such as:

  • Numerous new floaters (small dark patches or wavy lines that float across one’s field of vision).
  • Bright flashes in one or both eyes
  • A shadow or “curtain” of darkness on the sides or in the center of your visual field.

Retinal detachment symptoms frequently occur unexpectedly. The danger of irreversible vision loss or blindness increases if the retinal detachment is not treated immediately. So it’s always advised to consult a doctor in a medical emergency.

How To Prevent Aging Eyes

Your chances of maintaining a healthy vision improve if these issues are caught and addressed as soon as possible.  A lot of conditions of the eye have no early warning signs. They may progress without discomfort, and you may only notice the changes to your eyesight once it’s too late. You may be unaware of how problems with other areas of your body might spread to your eyes.

The National Institute on Aging provides the following eye care advice:

According to the American Optometric Association, everyone over 60 should have an eye checkup once a year. 

  • Outdoors, wear spectacles that inhibit ultraviolet (UV) radiation and headwear with a wide brim.
  • Stop smoking, as it increases the risk of developing eye disorders.
  • Consume nourishing nutrients that promote eye health.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight.
  • Reduce hypertension, which can contribute to eye issues.
    If you have diabetes, which can cause blindness, it is essential to keep it under control.
  • Reduce eye strain when concentrating on a computer or a single object by glancing aside for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
  • Regular eye examinations are also essential for detecting problems before they become more severe.

Natural aging processes cause eye changes that affect vision and general eye health. The eyes go through several changes as we age, some of which are detrimental to eyesight and eye health as a whole. Understanding the signs of aging eyes is essential for early diagnosis and treatment. 

Maintaining sound eye health and 20/20 vision for a lifetime is possible with a few simple lifestyle changes and routine checkups. Even though not all eye diseases can be avoided, there are things you can do to lower your chances. To learn more about the best eye solutions. Please refer to the article here. 

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