September is Healthy Aging Month
We all want to age gracefully, right? To feel and look as healthy and young as possible. But have you considered how well your eyes are aging? The risk of developing many eye diseases and conditions increases with age. This means the more candles you have on your birthday cake, the greater your risk for developing many eye conditions.
Healthy Aging Month Fact:
One in six Americans who are 65 and older have a vision condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Still, many seniors don’t have a yearly comprehensive eye exam. To spotlight the importance of taking care of our eyes as we age, Collins Vision, in conjunction with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is celebrating Healthy Aging Month. The goal is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of vision loss and to share ways to help older Americans take care of their aging eyes.
This month aligns perfectly with the welcoming of our newest board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Jason C. Friedrichs, who has special expertise in the most common age-related vision conditions such as glaucoma and diseases of the retina. Dr. Friedrichs also performs blepharoplasty, a delicate procedure designed to correct droopy eyelids that can also be age-related and vision-impairing.
Which Vision Conditions are Age-Related?
Diabetic retinopathy is a relatively common eye disease associated with diabetes that is considered a leading cause of blindness in American adults. If you have diabetes, it’s important to work closely with your eye doctor to monitor and treat this sight-stealing disease.
This condition only occurs in diabetic patients and is a result of damage to the tiny blood vessels within the eye. Raised blood sugars cause blood to pool within the blood vessels, which leads to worsening problems over time. Diabetic retinopathy typically develops without any warning signs. Damage to the eye can occur slowly and may go unnoticed until there is significant damage. For this reason, anyone with diabetes should receive regular monitoring by an experienced eye doctor.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve located in the back of your eye. Damage is most commonly caused by high pressure (intraocular pressure) in your eye and more often occurs in patients over the age of 60 and over 40 if Hispanic or African American. Glaucoma does run in families, but research is still ongoing into how your risk is affected by family history. A family history does not guarantee you will develop the condition, but it is a significant risk factor you should discuss with your doctor.
Symptoms start slowly, so you may not even notice them until the condition has developed to the degree that damage to your vision has taken place. The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. There’s no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment can often stop the damage and protect your vision.
Dr. Friedrichs is skilled in several advanced treatments for glaucoma, including Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), a form of laser surgery used to lower intraocular pressure in open-angle glaucoma. And also, Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI), the first-line treatment in closed-angle glaucoma and eyes at risk for this condition.
For patients dealing with cataracts and glaucoma at the same time, Dr. Friedrichs can offer minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS). There are several, and they can be performed either as stand-alone procedures or at the time of cataract surgery with similar recovery, postoperative drop regimen and restrictions of activity as cataract surgery alone. A large majority of our patients can not only achieve independence from glasses but minimize or eliminate/minimize glaucoma eye drops.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. With AMD, the central portion of the retina (called the macula) deteriorates, affecting your central vision and negatively impacting everyday activities, such as driving, reading and recognizing faces. Millions of people are diagnosed with AMD each year; a visit with one of our team of experts is the right place to start if you are concerned about this condition. Our specialists can guide you through managing this sight-stealing condition.
Treatment for AMD can include a number of options, including intravitreal injections that inhibit the growth of the abnormal blood cells that cause the condition. Additionally, we are pleased to offer a new laser treatment option that helps minimize the need for injections. Collins Vision is the only practice in the area to have invested in this amazing laser platform (Nidek 577 Wavelength with Micropulse, for our tech-loving readers).
If you are over the age of 40, you may have noticed your vision is changing. You could be having difficulty reading the text on your phone, book, restaurant menu or computer screen. This sudden need for reading glasses is called age-related presbyopia, also known as “over-40 vision.” It is unavoidable, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Thankfully, the vision experts at Collins Vision are equipped with solutions (beyond reading glasses!) for your over-40 vision challenges.
This is the big one! A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that occurs as we age. This cloudiness blocks and distorts light passing through the eye and thus impedes clear vision. Over time, the cataract will grow larger and cloud more of the lens. Millions of Americans currently live with cataracts, and many more will develop them by the age of 65.
But you don’t want to spend your prime years with less than prime vision, right? Dr. Collins is a regional leader in the treatment of cataracts. In fact, he’s a fellowship-trained cataract and refractive specialist with considerable experience restoring and even improving vision after cataracts.
Have you heard of Refractive Cataract Surgery? It’s an advanced procedure designed to remove your cataract and reduce your dependency on glasses at the same time by correcting refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia with a premium intraocular lens. It’s an advanced procedure that goes beyond standard cataract surgery to deliver amazing results designed to fit your unique vision and lifestyle.
Prime Vision for Your Prime Years
Prime tip: don’t skip your annual sight-saving exam! Annual comprehensive eye exams are so important as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, allowing for more timely treatment and potentially saving sight. This is why we recommend that adults have them annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist.
“Our focus on comprehensive eye health means we watch for everything that might affect your eyes. From basic eye exams to dry eye check-ups, we strive to safeguard every aspect of your eye health.” – Michael Collins, MD, board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Collins Vision
At Collins Vision, we want all of our patients to See the Difference with the vision they deserve in every season, and that includes your golden years! Our doctors have extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of many age-related eye conditions. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today to make sure your eyes are healthy for a lifetime.