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Older Adults

Anatomy of the Eye

The structures of the eye include the cornea, iris, pupil, macula, retina, and the optic nerve.

Eye Care Specialists

An ophthalmologist is either a medical doctor (M.D.) or an osteopathic physician (D.O.). An optometrist is a doctor of optometry (O.D.) but is not a medical doctor. An optician is a technician who fits eyeglasses.

When to Get an Eye Exam

During an eye exam, an eye healthcare provider looks at your health history and gives you a series of eye tests. The tests are done to check the health of your eyes.

Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses

Eyeglasses are the most common form of eyewear used to correct or improve many types of vision problems. Contact lenses are worn directly on the cornea of the eye.

Low-Vision Devices

Low-vision devices are categorized as either optical or nonoptical. Optical devices are magnifying lenses or closed circuit TV. Nonoptical devices are large-print books and talking computers.

Common Eye Disorders

One common eye disorder is conjunctivitis, sometimes called pink eye. It's an inflammation of the blood vessels in the eye membrane. Another common disorder is a chalazion—a small bump that develops on the upper or lower eyelid.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects a person’s central vision. AMD is the most common cause of severe loss of eyesight among people ages 60 and older. Only the center of vision is affected with this disease.

Why Healthcare Providers Remove Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, a clear, soft structure behind the pupil that works much like a camera lens. The top cause of cataracts is aging. In fact, more people over 70 have cataracts than not.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. This is an area that is normally clear. As this clouding happens, it keeps light rays from passing through the lens and focusing on the retina. The retina is a tissue lining that is sensitive to light. It is located in the back of the eye. This cloudiness happens when some of the protein which makes up the lens of the eye begins to change its structure. It then gets in the way of your eyesight.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It’s caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye. In some people, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In others, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a health problem where the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly builds up and doesn’t drain properly. Instead, the fluid collects and causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that connects the retina with the brain. This damage leads to loss of eyesight.

Refractive Errors

Astigmatism is one type of refractive error. It's a condition in which an abnormal curvature of the cornea can cause two focal points to fall in two different locations—making objects up close and at a distance appear blurry.