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Seniors Report Fewer Eyesight Problems

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Seniors Report Fewer Eyesight Problems

I can see clearly now! In a recent US study, seniors reported a 58 percent improvement in their ability to read fine print in books and newspapers.

Good eyesight is something many people take for granted—until we reach middle age. As the menu gets harder to read, luckily our arms seem to get longer. Glasses are an easy solution to the problem of not being able to see close up. But aging eyes can host a variety of age-related problems, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, dry eye, and low vision problems.

A recent study by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of California shows that today’s seniors are experiencing fewer serious eyesight problems than the previous generation.

“From 1984 until 2010, the decrease in visual impairment in those 65 and older was highly statistically significant,” said Angelo P. Tanna, MD, first author of the study. “There was little change in visual impairments in adults under the age of 65.”

I can see clearly now

In 1984, 23 percent of elderly Americans had difficulty reading fine print in books or newspapers due to poor eyesight. But in 2010 only 9.7 percent of seniors reported problems reading fine print—a 58 percent decrease.

Information was gathered from two major US population-based studies: the National Health Interview Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

The good news is that improved eyesight made it easier for seniors to participate in daily activities inside and outside the home.

Why the improvement in eyesight?

The study didn’t address the causes of improved eyesight in seniors. However, researchers cite three main reasons they credit for this improvement:

  • improved cataract surgery techniques and results
  • less people smoking, leading to a drop in AMD
  • improved access to treatments for diabetic eye diseases, even though the incidence of diabetes is on the rise

Take care of your eyes

Many of us spend the majority of our time in front of a computer screen. Take proper care of your eyes during screen time. Outdoor eye care is just as important. Now that summer’s here and we’re spending more time outdoors, protect your eyes from the sun’s dangerous UV rays. And consider taking supplements to maintain optimal eye health.

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