Top 5 Most Common Eye Problems in Seniors

Tamera Jackson by Tamera Jackson | Licensed since 2007
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This article was updated on: 10/06/2018

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When you were younger, your eye problems may have been corrected with eye glasses or contacts. As you age, you may need more serious interventions, such as surgery, for your eye problems. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) five common age-related eye conditions include:

  • Aged-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic Eye Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Low vision
  1. What is age-related macular degeneration?

According to NEI, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. AMD causes damage to the macula, which allows us to see objects that are directly in front of us. Eye problems such as a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom of AMD. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), AMD occurs less frequently in people who exercise, don’t smoke, and eat fish and vegetables. Advanced neovascular age-related  macular degeneration may be treated with injections or laser surgery. It may also be treated with photodynamic therapy, which uses lasers to treat certain areas of the retina. (The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of the eye that senses light.)

  1. What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a common senior eye problem. According to NEI, by age 80 more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye that disrupts vision. The lens of the eye is clear and curved and forms the front of the eye behind the pupil. Most cataracts are related to aging and can also cause double vision, poor night vision, and fading of colors. Early-stage cataracts may be treated by new eyeglasses or magnifying lenses, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). Surgery can also remove the cloudy lens causing your eye problems and replace it with an artificial lens.

  1. What is diabetic eye disease?

According to NEI, diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetes eye problems changes the blood vessels of the retina, which is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye. Diabetes eye problem like diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. Diabetes eye problems are treatable. One treatment is laser surgery. Laser treatment slows the leaking of fluid and reduces swelling in the retina.

  1. What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve is comprised of nerve fibers that carry visual messages to the brain. Pressure in the eye is major cause of nerve damage, according to the National Eye Institute. Glaucoma is most often treated by medicines in the form of eye drops or pills.

  1. What is low vision?

Low vision may make everyday tasks difficult even with the use of glasses, contacts, medications, or surgery, according to NEI. Low vision is most common in those over age 65. If your eye disease or vision loss is detected early, it could be easier to preserve your remaining vision, according to NEI.

Does Medicare cover eye problems?

Original Medicare Part B generally covers some preventative and diagnostic eye exams. Learn more about Medicare coverage of eye exams.

Do you have more questions about Medicare coverage?

If you’re considering a Medicare plan that might offer coverage beyond Original Medicare, you may want to compare your Medicare plan options. I can help you with this process. If you want to set up an appointment, I can walk you through your options or email you information. Or search for plans yourself by clicking the Compare Plans buttons on this page.

Benefits, premiums and/or copayments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.

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