40s and 50s Eye Development

It’s helpful to know how the eyes work, to understand how the eye’s parts function together to bring clear images to your brain – and how these parts change over time. One thing you might notice is that just about everyone in your age group wears some kind of vision correction, like eye glasses or contact lenses. Here are some reasons why:

Retina Becomes Less Light Sensitive

As you age, your retina becomes less light sensitive, so you need more light to see as well as you did before. Brighter lights in your home, work environment and while reading may help bring printed words into clearer focus, but eventually, you’ll need vision correction, such as bifocals or multifocal contact lenses, for reading.

The Eye’s Lens Becomes Less Elastic With Time

You may start to experience blurry vision when reading or looking at your devices and focusing between distances can become more difficult.  That's because as you age, the crystalline lens in your eye hardens and loses elasticity. With this loss of flexibility, your eyes are less able to adjust properly to focus near objects making it tougher for your eyes to focus with the same agility you experienced in younger years. This is called presbyopia and is something that usually occurs around age 40, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. Reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal contact lenses may help you see more clearly. Beyond that, using a vision accessory like a magnifying glass will bring the smallest print into focus – like the words on maps or numbers in crossword puzzles.

Bausch + Lomb Multi-Focal contact lenses are designed to provide clear vision—up close, far away and in between. These lenses feature the 3-Zone Progressive design that eases the transitions eyes have to make from near to far distance. Talk to your eye care professional to see if Bausch + Lomb ULTRA for Presbyopia or Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia contact lenses are right for you.

Changes in Your Eye’s Lens

Your eye’s lens may start to change or discolor as you age. The lens in your eye is normally clear, as you age, it may discolor or get cloudy making it harder to see colors with the same vibrancy you once enjoyed. You may also notice additional glare from headlights at night, or from the sun hitting the pavement during the day due to the way light enters your eye as your eye's lens changes.

Tear Glands Lose Some Ability to Produce Moisture

Have you noticed your eyes feeling drier than normal? This may be because your tear glands have lost some ability to produce moisture and keep your eyes properly lubricated. Certain medications, and for women, hormonal changes as you are nearing menopause may also cause eye dryness. Artificial-tear eye drops can be beneficial to moisturize and alleviate the discomfort of dry eye. If your job involves using a computer for long hours at a time, you may be increasing the dryness through a condition called computer vision syndrome.

Vitreous Gel Thickens as We Age

The vitreous gel thickens and shrinks as we age, sometimes forming tiny clumps in the vitreous. These clumps cast shadows onto the retina, and the resulting forms and shapes are referred to as eye floaters. Eye floaters are tiny spots, specks, lines or shapes that enter into your field of vision, appearing to float in front of the eye. Floaters are most often isolated occurrences that are a perfectly normal part of vision. If they become more frequent, however, and are accompanied by eye flashes – bursts or streaks of light – this may be a sign of an impending retinal detachment. This is very serious and should be brought to the attention of an eye care professional.

Be Proactive

You may be at a higher risk for developing vision problems if you or a family member has certain medical conditions.

  • Diabetes, high cholesterol or other chronic conditions
  • If you are on medications for certain medical conditions
  • Family history of eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration

Be sure to keep up with your comprehensive eye exams - at least every two years. The best chance to maintain the health of your eyes is to detect issues early with regular eye examinations. Don't hesitate to talk to your eye care professional if you have any concerns.