Caring for your aging eyes

By Dr. Giovanna Olivares, OD, FAAO; Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Director & Staff Writer

As you get older, one thing becomes clear: change is a constant. Careers change, relationships change, hobbies change, and perspectives change. Eyes are no different. Understanding the ways that your eyes change can keep you from getting caught off guard and help you take better care of your vision in the long run. In this blog post, we will explore common age-related eye issues and provide simple tips to help keep your eyes healthy over time.

Age-related eye issues

1. Presbyopia

This common, natural condition affects your ability to see up-close objects clearly. It happens to everyone—as you get older, the lens inside your eye becomes less flexible, making it harder to focus on close-up tasks like reading or using a smartphone. A telltale sign of presbyopia is someone holding their phone or a restaurant menu at arm’s length.

See More About Presbyopia

2. Cataracts

These occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision, and decreased contrast and color perception. Cataracts are a natural condition common with advancing age and can be treated with surgery if they start to interfere with daily activities.

3. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in seniors. It affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision, seeing straight lines as wavy and in the more advanced stages, difficulty recognizing faces.

4. Glaucoma

This group of eye diseases damages the optic nerve, due to increased pressure within the eye. It can cause gradual permanent loss of peripheral vision and, if left untreated, may lead to complete vision loss and blindness. Treatment typically includes using eye drops to lower the pressure inside the eye.

Tips for healthy aging eyes

1. Regular eye exams

Schedule comprehensive eye exams with an eye care professional at least once a year. Regular check-ups can detect early signs of age-related eye conditions and help manage them effectively. For example, early diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma is essential in preventing vision loss. A comprehensive eye examination can also detect undiagnosed systemic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can promote good eye health. Also, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight may reduce the risk of eye diseases.

3. Protect your eyes

Prolonged UV exposure has been associated with early onset of cataracts. Wear a combination of a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays to protect your eyes from this harmful sun exposure. Use safety eyewear when doing things that could cause eye injury, such as woodworking or gardening.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing age-related eye diseases such as AMD and cataracts. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your eye health.

5. Give your eyes a rest

When using digital devices or reading for an extended period, take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

By understanding the changes that occur in our aging eyes and following these simple tips, we can take better care of our vision as we age. Here's to healthy and vibrant aging eyes!

Go to Eye Care Basics

About the author

Giovanna E. Olivares, OD, FAAO

About the author

Giovanna E. Olivares, OD, FAAO is the Global Director, Specialty Platforms Research & Development, at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the strategy, design, and development of new products to support the company’s global Astigmatism and Presbyopia platforms. In 2017 under her leadership, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, launched ACUVUE® Oasys 1-Day with Hydroluxe® for Astigmatism and ACUVUE® Vita® for Astigmatism to meet our patients’ needs. In 2021, her team launched ACUVUE® OASYS MULTIFOCAL with PUPIL OPTIMIZED design. Recently in September, 2022, she launched ACUVUE® OASYS MAX MULTIFOCAL for presbyopia patients. Dr. Olivares joined Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. in 2004 as Sr. Manager of the R&D Design Clinical Research Group. In this role, she led a multidisciplinary group including Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Vision Scientists, and Biostatisticians responsible for the development of new innovative contact lens products and clinical methodology. Under her leadership, the group launched several brands including ACUVUE® ADVANCE for ASTIGMATISM, ACUVUE® OASYS for ASTIGMATISM, and 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST for ASTIGMATISM. Under her leadership, the first validated patient questionnaire for JJVC was developed, CLUE (Contact Lens User Experience). In 2010, she was appointed to the position of Director of Professional Education, responsible for developing innovative educational programs across the spectrum of students, eye care professionals, Professional Affairs Consultants, and the company’s Sales & Marketing organizations. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr. Olivares served as the Director of Clinical and Professional Development for Unilens Corp. USA, where she developed contact lens designs for presbyopia. Additionally, she has practiced in an ophthalmology practice, private optometric practice, retail optometry, and as a technical medical consultant at TLC, a center for LASIK surgery. Dr. Olivares received her BS degree from the University of Rochester and her OD degree from the State University of New York (SUNY). She subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Ocular Disease management at the SUNY College of Optometry. After her fellowship, she joined the SUNY faculty as an Assistant Professor with clinical and didactic teaching responsibilities in the areas of contact lenses, ocular disease, pediatric/binocular vision, and primary care. Dr. Olivares is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, has authored numerous scientific articles and has lectured internationally on contact lens technology and fitting for success.

Related pages

Recognizing and taking charge of your presbyopia

Learn what presbyopia is, find out its signs and symptoms, and discover solutions that can help provide clear vision to maintain your current lifestyle.

Four ways digital screens impact eye health & how to protect your eyes

Discover how digital screens can impact the health of your eyes and learn expert eye protection tips to help reduce things like eye strain from screens.

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