What Happens to Your Eyes as You Age?
From Birth through Your 30s
When you are born, the lenses inside your eyes are generally crystal clear and flexible, and the zonules connected to them are strong. With age, the lenses become less flexible, and the zonules are not as effective. Your eye shape, which is genetically determined, may mean that you need corrective lenses. If your eyeballs are too long, you’re nearsighted. If they are somewhat short, you’re farsighted. Whenever you notice a change in your vision, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
In Your 40s
“This decade is when we begin to lose our ability to focus up close, which is called presbyopia Thank those thicker, harder lenses and weaker zonules.
The remedy is proper reading glasses and contact lenses.
How quickly you develop presbyopia depends on where your vision started. If you have always had perfect eyesight, you’ll probably need reading glasses in your early 40s. Nearsighted people have an edge and often won’t notice a change until their late 40s.
If you’re farsighted, you’ll probably need those specs in your late 30s. This is also the time to schedule a comprehensive baseline eye exam (aim to go in at age 40 if you haven’t already.
Among other things, a doctor will test the pressure inside your eyes and look at the optic nerves to be sure they are intact.
In Your 50s and Beyond
The lenses continue to harden, and you may find you need stronger corrective lenses or even bifocals, which are lenses that have two prescriptions built into them (they are now available in contact lenses, too). You are also at greater risk of developing the following eye diseases:
Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration…more about them in the coming posts.