Common eye diseases in the elderly
On the occasion of World Sight Day, Eyes-Road gives free rein to the bonjoursenior.fr portal. Dedicated to aging well, which informs, supports and helps seniors compare products and services. Léa Calvez talks to us about frequent eye diseases in the elderly.
With age and especially after 60 years, specific eye disorders may appear; these are essentially five pathologies: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelid, however without consequences on vision, cataracts , glaucoma and presbyopia, which are may add diabetes- related retinopathy .
Certain conditions common in seniors, such as hypertension or arthritis can also damage eyesight, among their effects.
For these specific pathologies , which have consequences, not only on the well-being of those affected, but also on their social life, treatments exist, in addition to prevention.
We will retain the four main ones: presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma and AMD.
Eye diseases in the elderly: Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a natural evolution of sight , with the aging of the lens, which cannot be prevented and appears from the age of 40, affecting nearly 30 million people in France. It is manifested by difficulty seeing closely, with a diopter between 0.5 and 3.5 (unit of focal length), which stabilizes around 60 years. Presbyopia can be treated in two ways:
- Glasses with glasses or lenses adapted to near vision prescribed by an ophthalmologist, to be changed every 2 years according to the evolution of the condition; this is the most commonly used solution.
- Laser surgery, more expensive (about 3,000 €) and less used, which requires an ophthalmological assessment and avoids glasses.
It is the partial or total opacification of the crystalline lens leading to a gradual decrease in vision with discomfort in the light; it appears from the age of 65; this is senile cataract which affects seniors (there are other forms).
Apart from diabetes treatments, there is no real prevention for degeneration, except to adopt a healthy lifestyle : protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays , eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, quit smoking, etc.
The main therapy for cataracts is the operation which became commonplace with 825,000 people affected (in 2017); it is an outpatient and rapid operation (2 to 3 hours).
There have also been medicinal treatments for 30 years in the form of eye drops but not widely used.
This is an optic nerve damage linked to internal hypertension of the eye. The peripheral vision of the eye is initially affected and without treatment it can lead to blindness. After 40 years, 1 to 3% of French people are affected, a proportion which increases to 10% after 70 years, or one million people.
The most common form is "open angle" glaucoma (90% of cases) and, the only possible prevention is to monitor and treat the increase in eye pressure. Treatment essentially consists of prescribing eye drops adapted by the ophthalmologist as well as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (enzyme responsible for eye pressure).
AMD (age-related macular degeneration)
It is an attack of the macula, central zone of the retina, which causes a disturbance of vision : deformation of images and straight lines. This eye condition affects 1 to 2% of 50-60 year olds, 25% of 70-80 year olds and over half of them.
AMD can lead to blindness partial and its prevention lies in the fight against smoking and a diet rich in antioxidants, lutein (carotenoid), and DHA (OMEGA 3 to put it simply), not to mention regular screenings to optimize treatment.
Therapy for wet AMD (with formation of new vessels under the retina, can be treated with intraocular injections associated with an anti-growth factor drug as opposed to dry AMD with degeneration (the most common and less severe), except to consume antioxidants.
In conclusion, it is important for seniors to perform regular screening to limit the consequences of the main eye diseases in the elderly . especially should take the necessary measures while following the advice prophylactic ifs, except for cataracts for which it is difficult to escape the operation.