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There are many older people even those into their 80s who have no problem at all with their eyes. But, natural physical changes often cause some problems such as cataracts and glaucoma with age. The older you get you need brighter light for everyday tasks such as reading, cooking, mending. Driving a car can become a difficult task at night.

Some of the common problems are
This usually occurs after the age of 40/45 years due to a change in the eye muscles and lens caused by loss of elasticity making reading more difficult. You can read only if you hold the material at arm’s length. The problem is with focusing, which is easily rectified by having reading glasses with a convex lens. Every few years you will require slightly stronger lens to allow for the decreasing ability to focus.

A common complaint is of seeing tiny spots or specks that float across the eye, especially in bright light. They are normal and usually harmless but may be a warning of impending eye problems. If they become more noticeable or cause flashes of light, see your doctor.

Excessive tears
Excessive tears are usually a sign of increased sensitivity of the eyes to wind, light or temperature changes. This complaint is very common in a cold wind. It can be minimised by wearing glasses, especially sunglasses. It could indicate blocked tear ducts (lacrimal ducts) or an eye infection.

Dry eyes
This is caused by a reduced production of tears by the tear glands. It can cause problems such as blurred vision, itching or burning. It is easily corrected by using artificial tears.

Common eye diseases
Glaucoma is caused by too much fluid pressure in the eye, this can lead to blindness The rarer acute form (which causes sudden pain and visual problems) and the common chronic form (which slowly develops without early symptoms). All elderly patients should have eye tests on a regular basis, maybe every 2 years, but it is more important to have any unusual eye symptoms checked, if detected, it can be treated and blindness prevented.

Normally the lens within the eye is clear and allows light to pass through it. A cataract is when the clear lens becomes cloudy or opaque and cuts down the light entering the back of the eye. Apart from deterioration of vision, there are no other symptoms. Though this can occur at any age, it is more common in diabetics and those taking cortisone tablets. It is also heredity. A modern lens implant (an artificial lens) can give excellent results.

Retinal disorders
Disorders of the retina (the photosensitive area of the eye) can lead to varying degrees of blindness. Diabetes and other diseases can cause retinal problems. Sometimes the retina can become detached and seriously affect the eyesight. Retinal detachment can be treated successfully if detected early.

Tips for improved sight
Light bulbs are better than fluorescent lights. Regular blood pressure and diabetes check ups. Eye examination every 2 years.