Everyone likes the idea of growing old gracefully, but there are realities to aging that we must face up to, not least that the body degenerates. When it comes to the eyes, this can mean numerous conditions that threaten our sight, with an increase in intraocular pressure amongst them.
With regards to the older generation, statistics have consistently shown that age brings with it an increase in susceptibility to a wide range of health risks. For example, some 66 percent of people over the age of 60 are expected to develop cataracts in an eye.
Thankfully, lens replacement surgery can quickly and easily remove the flawed lens in such cases, restoring sight to as close to perfection as possible. This need for eye lens replacements is common in people aged over 50, and research has shown that the same age group also has an increased chance of developing ocular hypertension, or pressure in the eye, leading to the development of glaucoma. The figure increases dramatically as they head into their 70s.
This build up of pressure in the eye tends to go unnoticed, and the first hint of something wrong does not usually come until sight is already affected. This increase in pressure is caused by the drainage system in the eye being blocked.
With more fluid being pumped in and only a minimal amount being successfully drained away, pressure increases. This can take quite some time to develop into a major problem, like glaucoma, but is important to keep such dangerous conditions at bay.
Why The Older Generation Is Susceptible
It seems as though the older generation has a particularly hard time of things, as they are declared most vulnerable to just about every condition there is. But the simple fact is that aging, by definition, weakens the body, reducing the ability to ward off a host of illnesses, diseases and conditions.
With this comes some health problems that can damage our eyes by either reducing the quality of our sight or taking sight away from us completely. Blood pressure increases because blood vessels tend to stiffen with age, while the development of diabetes through a long held sugary diet can also take place later in life.
Development of Diabetes
Diabetes has been tentatively linked to glaucoma, which can develop as a result of ocular hypertension within the eye. It may not be a major cause, but it is a factor that consultants believe has a say in the rise in pressure in the eye. Of course, diabetes has a lot to do with diet, with sugary foods consumed over a lifetime leading to high blood sugar rates and a series of health issues.
Eye Surgery Complications
Laser eye surgery is used to deal with some common eye conditions, such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. These conditions relate to the cornea and the refractive errors that can cause double vision and poor focusing. While none of these conditions are exclusive to the older generation, they can develop over time.
As part of the post surgery treatment, and specifically the risk of dry eye and the discomfort it can cause, eye drops containing steroids are commonly prescribed. The use of steroids has been known to contribute to a build up in pressure within the eye too.
There can also be complications in other kinds of lens replacement surgery, where because of a slight scratch or abrasion can cause an inflammation of the eye, which can also add pressure.
Falls and Knocks
Unfortunately, as we get older we can also suffer from loss of balance and falling more often. Sometimes these falls can involve an impact which, if strong enough, can result in an eye injury. While this injury largely goes unnoticed in terms of sight, it can be significant enough to disrupt the delicate balance of eye fluid production and drainage efficiency. Over several months, even years, the intraocular pressure in the eye can increase to quite a high rate.
While the development of eye lens replacement procedures has certainly helped to restore sight in the older generation, there still remain real threats to sight in that age group, with an increase in pressure in the eye, ocular hypertension, being one and glaucoma another.