As the phrase goes- the eyes are the windows to your soul. As we age, we undergo experiences and exposures that help us mature and mellow, hence our life perspectives change in tandem. Here is what happens to our eyes over a lifetime:
The brain and eyes begin to coordinate, creating memories of the images that has been seen and recording them so that can be recognized the next time baby sees them. Most babies are colour-blind at birth and only begin recognizing colour after 3-4 months. In the first few months, they can only see 30 feet ahead and both eyes have not learnt to work together yet. As baby reaches toddlerhood, simple games help him to master hand-eye coordination.
1 – 10 years
The eye muscles strengthen and nerve connections in the eye multiply quickly year after year. The formative years are a good time to provide lots of visual stimulation as the brain forms links that will aid in learning, balance, physical activity and self-esteem. Common eye problems at this age include nearsightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, crossed eye and lazy eye, which causes blurred vision and may affect learning.
The eye undergoes many changes at this stage, especially for youngsters who have existing eye problems such as nearsightedness. It is important to inform your parents if you experience any changes in your vision so that treatment can begin, such as changing the power of your glasses or moving on to using contact lens instead. With their active lifestyles, teenagers are also at higher risk of UV-damage or sports-related eye injuries or infections as a result of cosmetic products such as hair sprays, make-up or acne creams.
20s and 30s
Generally, this is the time when you will enjoy good vision unless you have a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. The only risks at this stage are excessive computer exposure or sun exposure which may cause premature cataracts later on. Practise good eye habits such as not rubbing your eyes, wearing UV-protective eyewear and tinting your car windows.
The eye muscles become less flexible and you may begin experiencing difficulty seeing objects that are close. You will need more light to see well and have trouble differentiating between shades of blue and green. You may need vision correction such as glasses or surgeries to treat your failing vision. Annual eye examinations are necessary to check on the progression on your sight, especially if you have diabetes or eye conditions.
You may begin to experience vision problems such as cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens which caused blurred vision), age-related macular degeneration (a progressive degeneration of the macula, a part of the retina, that can cause blindness). Discuss with your ophthalmologist the advanced technological surgeries for these procedures.
60s and beyond
More eye problems such as glaucoma (increased pressure on the optic nerve that affects the progressive loss of side vision) or retinal detachment begin to manifest. The good news is that many of eye problems can now be resolved with high-tech surgeries or treatment measures. Good vision ensures you can remain independent and healthy for a longer time, being able to drive, work, conduct hobbies and enjoy a good quality of life in your golden years.
Eye Care Basics For Life
- Get enough rest and sleep
- Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants
- Care for your eyes with protective equipment when conducting dangerous activities
- Be cautious when handling sharp things
- Avoid rubbing eyes as it may injure the sensitive retina and cornea
- Protect your eyes from UV light with dark glasses
- Avoid looking at the computer for prolonged hours. Stop and look into the distance every 30 minutes.
- Use eye drops to relieve dry eyes.