Ten Interesting Facts and Tips about the Aging Eye


by Dr. Tara Fowler

Hazel Family Eye Care


  1. The lens is the one part of the body that the cells are constantly growing and dividing- undergoing that process known as mitosis. Therefore our eyesight and prescription is always shifting. It is not uncommon for nearsighted individuals to become less nearsighted and farsighted individuals to become more farsighted with time.

  2. Another change that occurs in the lens with time is the formation of cataracts. Cataracts can be caused by many factors but the most common being age related denaturing of the proteins in the lens that causes the lens to become yellow, opaque, and cloudy. Ultraviolet light exposure can accelerate this process and cause cataracts to form more quickly. Luckily, cataract surgery has been streamlined and essentially perfected by the skilled surgeon and most patients are extremely satisfied with the visual results of having cataract surgery.

  3. Drinking water, wearing UV protection, and consuming a diet or taking supplements high in Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin A, Zinc, and Omega 3’s become very important for protecting against certain conditions such as dry eye, cataracts, and age related macular degeneration.

  4. Presbyopia is when you lose the ability to focus on near objects. It is a process that also occurs because of the aging lens and typically becomes apparent in your 40s. The lens loses its flexibility and becomes more rigid with time as the lens ages. Therefore it is harder to round up the lens inside the eye and focus at near. Plus lenses, either in the form of reading glasses or multifocal lenses help compensate for the lenses natural ability to stop focusing.

  5. Dry eye is a common, chronic disease. It is caused by insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the cornea. The insufficient tears are either from lack of production of tears or having poor quality tears. Hormonal shifts and environmental factors can heighten the dry eye problem as we age. There are several things that can be done to help with dry eyes depending on the severity and the type of dry eye. Three things that can help anyone suffering from dry eye is increasing water intake and supplementing with a good quality fish oil supplement as well as lubricating with an artificial tear drop such as Optive Advanced or Systane Ultra.

  6. With time, the very specialized retinal cells known as photoreceptors lose their efficiency at undergoing normal metabolic processes. As a result, a metabolic byproduct known as drusen can deposit in the macular or central area of the retina. Sometimes this drusen can accumulate and disrupt the retinal layers, leading to Age Related Macular Degeneration.

  7. Warm compresses are like mini- facials for your eyes! Applying a warm compress to your eyes daily for 5-10 minutes is enough to increase the functioning of your eyelid glands and increase circulation. Your eyes will feel refreshed, clean, and more vibrant with routine warm compression.

  8. Glaucoma is the number one cause of preventable blindness in the world. Luckily, in the United States this is not the case as our healthcare is much better than other parts of the world. However, early detection is important in preventing vision loss from this disease. Routine eye exams are the best way to detect signs of Glaucoma.

  9. Blepharitis is another condition that can affect aging eyes. Blepharitis is inflammation of the lids and lashes secondary to bacterial overgrowth. If blepharitis goes untreated it can cause crusting, redness, and irritation of the lids, it can lead to bacterial eye infections, or even cause dry eyes. Lid hygiene is important to keep this condition at bay.

  10. Your eyeglasses can be very individualized depending on your visual needs. Whether you need single vision reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, or progressives – you should be able to sort through what’s best for you by talking to your optometrist.

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