Seniors Eye Exam

Many seniors do not think seriously about their eye health because they are stubborn and convinced that their eyes are as healthy as they ever have been. However, it is very important with old age that we place more and more importance on our eye health, especially for those of us over 60.

During your eye exam, your optometrist will check your vision to see whether you require glasses. The optometrist will also examine you for different illnesses that show themselves through changes in the eyes.

As we advance in age, the organs in our bodies age with us. They become less efficient and less effective than before. Seniors who have declining vision will need to be examined in order to avoid diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, AMD, and presbyopia, which affect their ability to see. All these issues must be detected and taken care of.

One important reason to have an eye exam annually is for glaucoma screening. Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure in your eye increases due to minor defects that have built up over time.

There are two common types of glaucoma:

1. Closed Angle Glaucoma

Closed angle glaucoma takes place when the drainage angles in the eyes are blocked. Since the eye is a closed structure, it will be impossible for the excess fluid to flow out of the eye if the angle is blocked. This will increase the fluid pressure within the eye, pushing against the optic nerve and possibly causing damage.

2. Open Angle Glaucoma

This occurs when the drainage angles in the eye become weak or less efficient. Open angle glaucoma gradually builds pressure without showing any symptoms. This kind of glaucoma slowly causes damage to the optic nerve; it leaves the patient unaware that his/her sight is becoming damaged. This is the main reason why seniors are advised to have annual eye examinations with a qualified optometrist who will perform tests to detect it.


Fortunately, treatment for glaucoma victims is relatively simple. For many patients, daily eye drops will maintain the optic nerve and also keep the eye conditions under control.

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your life is by preserving your vision. The most painful part of most vision impairment is that once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Many eye problems do not leave any trace until it’s too late.

Nonetheless, they are preventable and treatable if they are diagnosed early. The best way to do that is through an annual eye exam. In most advanced cases, the doctor may recommend frequent exams to consistently monitor and treat your eyes.

Seniors are advised to contact their optometrist immediately if they observe any of the following symptoms:

1. Macular Degeneration

The macula is a tiny spot on the retina that is crucial to vision; however, as we age, age-related macular degeneration takes place. When macular degeneration is left untreated, it can lead to rapid deterioration of eyesight - eventually leading to blindness. An eye exam allows your doctor to survey the condition of the macula and to start treatment immediately if a problem is identified.

2. Diabetes Retinopathy

Diabetes can cause another serious eye problem experienced by seniors. Many people with diabetes don't have any idea that inability to control their blood sugar can damage the veins in the back of the eye. High amounts of sugar in the blood endanger the blood vessels in the eye tissues.

During an eye exam, your optometrist will provide you with information on how diabetes affects your vision. Sometimes, combined with a series of other tests, the optometrist will look at the condition of the blood vessels that support the retina and how effective they are.

Diabetes retinopathy can eventually cause permanent blindness if left unchecked.

3. Presbyopia

Presbyopia is also known as far-sightedness. Seniors above the age of 60 will probably have experienced presbyopia for 18-20 years already. The condition is a typical effect of aging, and it's effectively overseen by making changes to contact lens or eyeglass prescriptions. An eye exam enables your doctor to evaluate the condition of your eyes and recommend the right solution. Getting a second pair of glasses or wearing bifocals for tasks up close may be recommended.

4. Cataracts

These are another common eye problem among seniors. They are another aspect of the aging process and will cause blurriness/permanent blindness to victims if not taken care of. An optometrist will recommend eye surgery as a simple and effective solution to cataracts after examination.

Most victims of cataracts are seniors who have diabetes who have also taken part in excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, or exposure to sunlight.

Symptoms of all of these eye issues include:

  • obscured vision
  • headache
  • severe eye pain
  • inability to focus
  • inability to see road signs
  • inability to enjoy reading
  • nausea and vomiting
  • rainbow-colored halos around lights
  • closing one eye while reading
  • seeing double
  • difficulty while driving at night

    HOW OFTEN SHOULD SENIORS GET THEIR EYES CHECKED

    Seniors should get thorough eye exams at least once each year. Visits to an optometrist will help slow down certain conditions and prevent problems.

    WHAT SENIORS SHOULD EXPECT UPON VISIT TO AN OPTOMETRIST

    Many seniors don’t know what to expect during an eye exam or what tests will be performed on them.

    First, a visual acuity test, which measures the clarity and sharpness of your vision, will be administered. This is performed by having letters on a chart read while the patient stands roughly 6 meters away.

    A confrontational visual field exam determines the field of vision that you have. You’ll be asked to cover your eyes and the optometrist will ask a series of questions during the test.

    It is very important for seniors above 60 to take proper care of their eyes. With regular eye examination, seniors will be able to detect potential diseases and discover the impact of any eye changes.

    To set up a senior eye exam, contact our office today.