Contacts & Aging
As we age, certain changes are inevitable. And while you may be ready for wrinkles and grey hair, it may be time to consider the ways in which aging affects your eyesight and contact lens wear. Even if you had perfect 20/20 vision for most of your life, as you enter your forties, the chances of developing an eye condition greatly increase.
The most common age-related vision disorder is called presbyopia, and it generally diminishes your ability to focus on close-up objects — small print may be more difficult to read, your eyes may become slow to focus at near objects. People with glasses correcting their distance vision may find they start to remove their glasses to read while those without distance correction may find over-the-counter reading glasses are helpful. In all cases, when there is any change in your vision, it is recommended that you have your eyes examined by an optometrist to rule out the possibility of an underlying eye disease. Eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts will affect vision, are painless and often develop at the same time as presbyopia.
How Contacts Can Help
Contact lenses are generally safe for your eyes at any age. Maybe you're facing vision correction for the first time. Maybe you already wear contacts and just need an adjustment to your prescription. Regardless, contact lenses can help treat a variety of eye conditions, including age-related presbyopia. Even if you learn you need lenses, contacts can offer a variety of solutions.
Vision Correction Options: Contact Lenses and/or Glasses1
For people with presbyopia who wish to be able to focus from distance to near without removing or putting on glasses throughout the day, there is the option of bifocal or multifocal glasses. If it is preferable to have freedom from glasses, then contact lenses are now available that offer the same benefits.
Multi-focal contact lenses. New advancements in contact lens technology and design have created multifocal contact lenses that offer distance, intermediate and near vision that meet the everyday needs of people.
Monovision. Another option is for a contact lenses prescription to be adjusted where one eye is corrected for distance and one eye is corrected for near. If a patient's visual system is going to adjust to this arrangement it will be within a very short period of time.
Contact lenses and glasses. For people whose visual demands cannot be met with multifocal or monovision contact lenses, it is possible to wear distance contact lenses combined with reading, bifocal or multifocal glasses.
Just as you may have several pair of shoes for different activities, keep in mind you can have different vision correction options for different activities. Ask you eye care professional for their recommendation based upon your vision correction and your personal requirements.
Nutrition and Eye Health
Get the nutrients to fight AMD.
There is growing evidence that improving your diet may also improve the health of your eyes and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or reduce your risk of developing the disease.
By eating a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein and zeaxanthin you will be consuming the nutrients thought to be most valuable to eye health. These can be found in a variety of healthy foods including:
- Fresh fish
- Green leafy vegetables
You can get these nutrients either through diet or your eye care professional may recommend supplementing your diet with an ocular vitamin, such as Vitalux® Vitamins. Click to learn more about Vitalux® Vitamins.
Contact Lens Dry Eye
Although there are many age-related eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, one condition that is of particular interest to contact wearers is Dry Eye Disease.
You see, as we age, our eyes begin to produce fewer tears, or tears that dry up sooner than they should. Without the tears' moisture and protection, our eyes can develop gritty, uncomfortable dry eye spots. These are the symptoms of Dry Eye Disease. Dry eye can be exacerbated by any number of things, including hormones (which is why women entering menopause are the most common group of dry eye suffers), certain medications and climate.
Even contact lenses can add to this problem, as they tend to absorb some of the moisture in your eyes. Contact lens associated dry eye can lead to uncomfortable lens wear, but there are steps you can take.
The right multi-purpose solution like OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® can help your contacts not only retain moisture, but also bring in incremental moisture. If dryness is still an issue, the most common treatment for Dry Eye is an artificial tear drop.
Alcon offers one such brand of dry eye drops. SYSTANE® Lubricating Eye Drops provide fast and long-lasting relief from the symptoms of dry eye. In fact, SYSTANE® Eye Drops can actually help extend comfortable lens wear time.
- Adapted from The Canadian Association of Optometrists