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What Ocular Conditions Are More Frequent at Age 40?

PRESBYOPIA

The most frequent ocular condition that starts at this age is Presbyopia. This is a normal aging process and cannot be considered as a true disease. Presbyopia is the normal progressive loss of the ability to focus and see things close up, especially when reading or working on the computer. This condition continues progressing over time and starts slowing down and eventually stops after your sixties.

The initial symptoms are needing more light while reading, the need to hold reading material farther to see more clearly, straining and headaches after doing close work and blurry vision at close (reading restaurant menus, newspaper printing…).

There are different options to improve vision up close:

  1. Eye glasses: reading glasses, bifocals, progressive glasses.
  2. Contact lenses: multifocal (same contact lens has prescription for distance and near), monofocal: in one eye is adjust to see at distance and the other  at close.
  3. Laser surgery and other refractive procedures.
  4. Drops as” Vuity” drops that may help in early/ low presbyopia.

GLAUCOMA AND OCULAR HYPERTENSION

From the pathology point of view, glaucoma and ocular hypertension can start around age 40. These are conditions that do not give objective manifestations or symptoms, they are considered silent or subclinical disease. Therefore prevention and early detection is key. As general recommendation, patients should check eye pressure yearly after the age of 40.

Glaucoma is medical condition that, if progresses without being detected, can cause significant vison loss and even blindness.

Glaucoma can be treated with drops, laser, or surgery.

CORNEAL CONDITIONS

Some cornea dystrophies, especially inherited, can manifest after your forties. These medical conditions more commonly used to start in childhood, but some of them can do it later in age. Corneal dystrophies can cause progressive opacification, or loss of transparency of the corneas, that are structures that need to be completely transparent to assure optimal vision.

Author
Patricia Martinez, MD Patricia Martinez, MD Patricia Martinez Lehmann MD, is a board- eligible comprehensive ophthalmologist and eye surgeon treating patients throughout Blue Bell, Hatboro, North Wales and Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Dr Martinez is originally from Spain. She trained as an ophthalmologist in Barcelona (Spain) and worked there in comprehensive eye care for 10 years before moving to the US in 2010 for family reasons. She loved and missed her profession so much that in order to return to the clinical practice here in America she completed a one year glaucoma research fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital and 4 years of another ophthalmology residency at Drexel University / Hahnemann Hospital (Philadelphia) and West Virginia University Eye Institute ( Morgantown). Dr Martinez areas of expertise include cataract surgery, management of glaucoma and dry eye disease. Dr Martinez speaks English and Spanish.

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