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Different types of vision problems affect us as we age. And sudden vision changes can be alarming when they take us by surprise!

As we get on in years, our eyes will begin experiencing changes, especially with all of the screen time we expose our eyes to. And with these developments come a host of vision problems that can affect many people, particularly those aged 41 and up.

In this article, we’ll look at the most common types of vision problems in adults. We’ll also look at risk factors that may influence the development of these eyesight problems and, more importantly, what you can do to avoid experiencing them first-hand.

What Are the Types and Causes of Visual Problems?

Many middle-aged adults experience various vision health issues in one or both eyes ranging from mild to severe. Difficulty in seeing things clearly, and even permanent vision loss, are primarily caused by age-related diseases of the eyes.

These eye diseases are the leading cause of low vision and blindness in millions of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1)

The five types of visual problems most experienced by adults are as follows:

1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a common type of vision problem in adults over the age of 50, (2) which can affect one or both eyes. It’s currently the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.

This disease affects the eye’s macula, part of the retina that allows you to focus on and see the details of the objects you’re looking at. (3) It’s also in charge of your central vision, allowing you to see things in front of you clearly. With AMD, straight lines may appear distorted or wavy, while some objects look like they’re missing a lot of fine details.

The two forms of AMD that adults may develop are:

  • Dry AMD

It is much more common and accounts for up to 90% of AMD cases. It occurs as part of the aging process wherein the macula in both eyes thin and lose function over time.

An early sign that you might have Dry AMD is drusen, which looks like pale or yellow-colored deposits underneath the retina. Drusen is often found in folks 60 years and older.

  • Wet AMD

Wet AMD is less common, and this occurs when there are abnormal blood vessels growing underneath the macula, causing fluid and blood leakage and, eventually, loss of central vision.

Risk factors for developing AMD include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Having hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Family history of macular degeneration

2. Blurred Vision (Refractive Errors)

Blurred vision is another common vision problem in adults. They occur because your eye’s natural shape affects how the light will focus on your retina, causing blurry vision when you focus on an object. While some already have these errors since childhood, others develop blurred vision as they age.

These refractive errors can be further broken down into:

  • Nearsightedness or myopia – when you can see things up close clearly, but those in the distance appear blurry.
  • Farsightedness or hyperopia – when distant objects appear clear to you, but those up close appear blurry.
  • Age-related farsightedness or presbyopia – when your eyes’ lenses are less flexible, making it difficult to focus on things up close or read fine print.
  • Astigmatism – when you experience distorted vision regardless of distance.

Risk factors for developing blurred vision include:

  • Aging (particularly in presbyopia)
  • Family history

3. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication that adults may experience if they have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This eye health issue occurs when high blood sugar levels affect and damage the retina’s blood vessels over time, eventually leading to vision impairment.

The two primary stages of diabetic retinopathy (4) are:

  • Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy – refers to the early stages of the disease. It happens when leaks in tiny blood vessels make the retina swell and is a common reason for diabetics to experience vision loss.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy – refers to the advanced stages of the disease. It happens when your retina grows new blood vessels, which can bleed and lead to vision blockage and form scar tissues that can lead to retinal detachment.

Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Type 1 of type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Poor control of blood sugar level
  • High cholesterol

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to various eye diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve due to fluid or pressure build-up, resulting in vision loss or blindness. You may experience different vision problems symptoms depending on the type of glaucoma you have, such as:

  • Chronic open-angle glaucoma – progresses over a long period, causing you to eventually develop patchy blind spots in your peripherals or side vision and have difficulty seeing objects along your central vision.
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma – causes severe eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, headaches, and nausea due to a sudden increase in fluid pressure inside the eye. This is a medical emergency as it can result in blindness if timely treatment is not given. (5)
  • Secondary glaucoma – this type is tied to other causes like inflammation, eye injury, diseases like diabetes or cataracts, or medication. You may experience symptoms like headache, eye pain, vomiting, or nausea.
  • Congenital glaucoma – occurs mostly in babies and children younger than three years old.

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Aging
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High eye pressure
  • Are nearsighted or farsighted

5. Cataracts

Cataracts are clouding of the lenses in one or both eyes. They may not cause any symptoms at first, but they can eventually cause you to experience hazy or blurred vision, (6) have poor night vision, or make colors appear faded or yellowish. These vision changes can make everyday tasks like driving or reading difficult.

Cataracts often occur in older persons but may also develop in young adults and children.

Risk factors for developing cataracts include:

  • Aging
  • Certain diseases like diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Sun exposure

What Can You Do About These Vision Problems?

As these eye diseases may lead to vision problems or even vision loss, stopping them before they become severe is imperative.

Here’s how you can take better care of your eye health:

1. Take Supplements with AREDs2 Formula

Sometimes, eating healthy may not be enough. To ensure that you’re getting adequate nutrients for your eye health, supplementing your diet with certain nutrients can help..

The National Eye Institute sponsored 2 major clinical trials (7) designed to look more into age-related macular degeneration and cataracts and the effects of certain vitamins on how these eye diseases progress.

Their studies showed that if you have intermediate age-related macular degeneration in one or both eyes, AREDs 2 supplements can help slow down your chances of acquiring vision loss (8) later on and help reduce the risk of high-risk patients from developing AMD by as much as 25%. (9)

AREDs 2 supplements like have large amounts of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain good eye health, like vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

While food and other multivitamins may offer these nutrients, most don’t contain the right amounts to help fight off vision loss caused by AMD. As such, if you already have AMD, taking supplements based on AREDs 2 Formula is important.

2. Undergo Annual Eye Exams

Some eye conditions like glaucoma display no signs or early symptoms. Hence, detecting them early may only be possible if you undergo regular eye exams. (10)

Your eye doctor may perform different tests, such as evaluating your visual acuity, testing your eye focus, and ophthalmoscopy, which helps them check for eye diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

A complete eye exam once a year is recommended for everyone, especially those 50 years old and above. If detected early, the progression of eye diseases may be slowed down and treated.

3. Wear Sunglasses

If you’re the type who gets exposed to the sun often, wearing sunglasses or shades that can block or reflect both UVA and UVB rays away from the eyes is a must.

This is because UV light can easily penetrate eye issues, increasing the risk of developing eye problems like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and even certain types of cancer. (11)

Be sure to wear glasses that fit you well and are made with lenses that offer 99 to 100% protection from UV rays to ensure your eyes are safe while outdoors.

4. Quit Smoking

While most often linked to heart diseases and lung cancer, smoking may also lead to vision loss. This is because smoking can adversely affect your retina, lens, and macula, putting you at risk for eye diseases like AMD and cataracts. (12)

That’s why if you want to lower your chances of developing these serious eye conditions, you need to stop smoking entirely.

5. Eat Healthy

Eating nutrient-rich foods is a good way to maintain clear vision and excellent eye health.

For example, consuming foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce your risk of developing chronic eye diseases. Meanwhile, eating foods high in vitamin C can lessen your risk of getting cataracts, while those high in omega-3 fatty acids are vital to maintaining retinal function and proper visual development.

Eating dark leafy vegetables, colorful fruits, red meat, and fish are all great ways to incorporate these nutrients into your diet.



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