There are 444,400 Australians aged 55 and over who are visually impaired. That is about 10 per cent of the 4.7 millions of Australian in the over 60 age group. Regular eye tests enable early detection and diagnosis of eye diseases but it’s a good idea for all over 60s to be aware of the signs of potential eye problems. So even if you aren’t due for an eye exam if any of these symptoms sounds familiar, book an eye test immediately.
1. Eye strain and fatigue
The occasional eye strain isn’t normally an issue. It can be caused by everything from allergies, sickness, lack of sleep and spending too much time in front of the screens. However, if you are experiencing frequent eye strain or tired eyes it can sometimes be a sign of an infection or a serious eye condition.
2. Sudden floaters or flashes
If you have a sudden onset of visual disturbances whether it’s floaters, flashes of light or obstructions in your vision, get checked out immediately. It could be a sign of a vision-threatening disorder such as a retinal detachment, retinal tear or retinal hole.
3. Constant headaches
Your vision changes gradually so sometimes it’s difficult to notice if your eyesight is worsening until it’s quite bad. Headaches are one of the earliest warning signs that you are straining your eyes. If you are experiencing constant headaches that can’t be otherwise explained, go get your eyes checked.
This is one of the most obvious signs that it’s time for a check-up! Even if you’ve had perfect vision your whole life if you are finding yourself squinting more than usual – like at road signs or even your computer – you might need glasses.
5. Sensitivity to light
If your eyes are suddenly sensitive to light it could be symptomatic of a more serious problems such as an eye disease or infection.
6. Focusing problems
Blurry vision and problems focusing your eyes can be indicative of a bigger problem. Even if it comes and goes or is limited to one eyes, get your eyes checked. While blurry vision is common every now and again especially after a long day it shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence.
7. You can’t remember the last time you had your eyes checked
It is recommended that you have an eye test every two years. However, the time between eye tests should go down as your age goes up. Even if you haven’t experience any of the above symptoms it’s a good idea to get your eyes checked by a professional if it’s been a while as some serious conditions don’t present with any symptoms.