We use them every day, often by sticking them in front of a computer monitor or smartphone screen for hours on end. We depend on them to get us down the freeway exit ramp safely and to help us figure out the best color shirt to wear to that job interview. Without a functioning set of eyes, we could get by, but it would be a lot tougher. That’s why it’s important to take care of them to the best of our ability. We think the worst thing that can happen is diminished sight, and that’s a common issue, but it’s far from the only thing that can occur in the vicinity of our eyes as we get older.
Signs of trouble
Most of us have seen people with cataracts. The eyes have a glassy look that kind of resembles a car window that has frozen over in winter. Age is one of the biggest risk factors, although they can form in younger people as well. Symptoms include cloudy, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and double vision in one of your eyes. Drinking a lot and smoking a lot can hasten the development of cataracts. Once the cataracts get to a certain point, surgery is the best way to remove them.
Another factor that not many people think about when they think about cataracts? Exposure to sunlight. Yes, protecting your eyes from direct sunlight can slow their development, but even if you aren’t developing cataracts at the moment, you still need a good, reliable pair of sunglasses to take with you at all times. If you’re driving in the car, wear the sunglasses. If you’re walking in the park, wear sunglasses. Riding your bike to work? Yup, you guessed it: wear sunglasses. But take them off when you get to work, though. You’re not a famous rock star or an A-list actor; you’re at no danger for being mobbed by a crowd seeking autographs.
Can you pronounce the word “dermatochalasis?” If not, don’t worry; most of us can’t even spell it without help. It’s not a word we’re used to saying every day. If you’re thinking that “derma” has something to do with skin, you’re on the right track. An issue called dermatochalasis affects the skin around your eyes. If your eyes have been described as baggy or droopy, it may be due to dermatochalasis, which is common in people who are middle-aged or older. Not surprisingly, it’s not a great look for most folks. It may even make you want to wear sunglasses indoors, but resist the urge. Instead, go see an eye doctor, because the excess skin on your eyelids could actually impact your vision. That skin just hanging around on your upper or lower eyelid can also be just plain uncomfortable. The best solution may be a blepharoplasty, more commonly known as an eye lift. Talk to an eye doctor if you think you have this condition. Surgery may or may not be covered by your insurance, but you won’t know until you ask.