Can Your Eyes Degrade Over Time?

Of the many risk factors associated with potential vision loss, perhaps the most common is simply age.

Yes—your eyesight can go bad naturally over time. But what exactly causes eyesight to deteriorate with age? Read on to learn more.

Understanding how the eyes work

First, to understand why eyesight can deteriorate over time, it’s important to understand how the eyes function.

Light passes through the cornea, which is the transparent part at the front of the eye that serves as a sort of window. The light then hits the lens, which focuses the light onto the retina. The retina converts the light into a neural signal interpreted by the brain as images. The optic nerve carries those signals to the brain.

This means there are a number of potential issues that could result in degradation of eyesight with age. Likely, “vision loss” is a symptom of problems with one of those components.

How can eyes go bad over time?

What, then, causes these components to deteriorate as you age?

The cornea can suffer very thin or small tears or scratches, which is problematic because it requires a smooth, intact surface to capture light and produce a good image. There are a number of conditions that can cause corneal damage, such as dry eyes, blepharitis and scratches in the eyes.

The lens in the eye also has conditions that can affect it, including presbyopia and cataracts. Just about everyone will be susceptible to these conditions as they age. Lenses are perfectly clear when we are born, and they are capable of changing their shapes to provide better focus. However, as people age, the lenses start to cloud up and are not quite as pliable, meaning it becomes harder to focus or get a clear view of what you’re looking at. There are treatments for hardened lenses or cataracts, but it’s important to note these issues become more common with age.

The retina and optic nerve work together, and deterioration of those components could be tragic for one’s eye health.

The retina converts light images into neural signals that are transmitted by ganglion cells. These cell extensions create the optic nerve, which means the optic nerve is essentially an extension of the retina. Studies show there is not any noteworthy deterioration in visual capacity associated with the retina or optic nerve caused by age. However, there are still some age-related diseases related to these parts, such as glaucoma and general macular degeneration. Here, early detection is crucial for avoiding the worst levels of vision loss.

So, if you’ve wondered if your eyes can degrade over time, the answer is “yes,” and it’s important to prioritize your ocular health throughout your life to minimize that degradation.

Taking certain steps to maintain your eyes throughout your life can help you avoid vision loss. In addition, making regular appointments with an eye doctor will help you catch potential deterioration before it progresses too significantly.

For more information, contact the experts at Hetzler Ocular Prosthetics Inc. today.