Why Is My Vision Getting Worse?
Whether you’ve only just started having vision issues or your latest trip to the optometrist resulted in your having to up the strength of your prescription, it’s natural to wonder, “Why is my vision getting worse?”
The answer to this question depends on multiple factors. Vision changes can occur as a natural part of aging, or they may be brought on by an injury, eye disease, or underlying illness.
While it’s ultimately best to get an official diagnosis by a trusted Houston ophthalmologist at Eye Center of Texas, let’s take a look at the common answers to the question, “Why is my vision getting worse?”
Note: Not sure whether to go to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist? This article has you covered: What is the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?
How do you know if your eyesight is getting worse?
For many patients, part of asking “Why is my vision getting worse?” can include wondering whether your eyesight is actually getting worse or if you’re just being paranoid. That’s understandable. When it comes to eye health it can be easy to psych yourself out and imagine the worst.
So, take a deep breath. Again, the best way to verify whether or not your vision is getting worse is to visit an eye doctor. In the meantime, the best way to check whether or not your vision is getting worse is to check your symptoms against those of common eye problems in your age group.
Why is my vision getting worse every year? Age and vision problems.
Many vision problems, even those caused by underlying illnesses, have been tied to certain age brackets. Of course, brackets are not set in stone, but they can be useful as a guide. Note that vision changes in young children (those younger than 18) are often related to either the growth and development of the eye or to less common issues. For these reasons, we do not address vision loss in small children in this article.
Patients in their late teens to 30s
Many patients who wear glasses or prescription contact lenses will see small fluctuations in their prescriptions over time. These changes are normal and should not be blamed on your glasses (which, despite popular myth, do not weaken the eye). All of that said, certain activities and factors can contribute to worsening vision, even at this age. These include:
The effects of UV damage to eyes has been well documented. Unfortunately, most of this damage is incurred when we are young and less aware of the consequences of not taking care of our eyes.
- Symptoms: Blurry vision, eye redness, pain, light sensitivity.
- Treatment: Avoid UV damage by wearing quality sunglasses and protective headgear when outside.
Digital eye strain
With the continued prevalence of digital products, it’s hard to avoid screens these days. Looking at your computer, phone, and TV for so many of the hours of the day can lead to eye strain, especially since humans tend to blink less while looking at a screen.
- Symptoms: Dry, itchy, burning, sore, and tired eyes, light sensitivity, and headaches.
- Treatment: To avoid eye damage from cell phone use and the use of other digital products, try implementing the 20-20-20 rule in your routine. This increasingly popular exercise suggests that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. There are apps that can help remind you to complete this ritual.
Poor diet, poor sleep, lack of exercise, and smoking
Like every other organ in your body, the health of your eyes is dependent upon your overall health. If you’ve ever wondered what you can do to stop your eyesight from getting worse, some of the best things you can do include trying your hardest to eat a balanced diet (that includes these top foods for eye health), get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid or quit smoking.
Patients of 40+ years of age
Just as our bodies age, so do our eyes. In addition to the above potential causes of vision loss, adults over the age of 40—even those with perfect eyesight up to this point—have a few additional culprits to keep in mind.
Presbyopia is the age-related loss of flexibility in the lens of your eye. The hardening of the lens makes it harder for the eyes to adjust to nearby objects, resulting in farsightedness or “near vision.”
- Symptoms: difficulty reading small print, eye fatigue after reading, squinting, holding items at a farther distance in order to see them better, needing brighter light.
- Treatment: Refractive lens exchange, LASIK or PRK monovision procedures
Another age-related eye issue, cataracts occur when proteins break down in the lens of your eye, creating a cloudy lens and blurry vision. Cataracts are an extremely common vision issue and cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the world.
- Symptoms: Clouded and blurred vision, glare, halos, problems with night vision, fading/yellowing of colors. If these symptoms sound familiar, check our article on early signs of cataracts.
- Treatment: Laser cataract surgery with lens replacement
Glaucoma involves the buildup of fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye. Unable to drain properly, this fluid creates increased eye pressure and eventually damage to your optic nerves, which in turn can lead to blindness.
- Symptoms: Intense eye pain, blurred vision, nausea, halos, issues seeing in low light.
- Treatment: Filtration surgery, Laser Trabeculoplasty, Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation
Presbyopia, cataracts, and glaucoma are by far the most common eye problems and diseases patients over 40 should watch out for. Additional yet less common eye problems include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and keratoconus.
What if my eyesight is getting worse all of a sudden? Or if my eyesight is getting worse every day? Will I go blind?
If you’re wondering, “Why is my vision getting worse?” because your vision has deteriorated very suddenly, it’s imperative that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Suddenly worsening vision is almost always an indicator of an underlying serious condition. These conditions range from stroke to brain inflammation to acute angle-closure glaucoma.
While there is no guarantee that a sudden change in vision will cause blindness, ignoring sudden vision changes highly increases the likelihood that you will go blind. We cannot stress this enough: If you experience rapid changes in vision quality, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Can your vision improve naturally? If so, how can I improve it?
Vision improves without medical treatment only in extremely rare cases, most of which involve young children whose eyes were still developing. There are some who believe that certain eye exercises, massages, and diets can improve vision over time, but these assertions have yet to hold water in clinical tests.
When my prescription stabilizes, are there ways of improving your eyesight?
Yes! As noted above, there are also many current procedures that address vision loss due to cataracts, presbyopia, glaucoma, and more.
Over time, many patients with vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism have achieved clear vision again with the help of procedures such as LASIK in Houston and PRK. Note that almost all ophthalmologists do not provide LASIK and PRK to patients under the age of 18. The eyes of patients under age 18 are typically still changing.
Worried that your eyesight is getting worse? Visit Eye Center of Texas.
The eye is an extremely important and complex organ, so it’s often difficult to get a comprehensive answer to the question, “Why is my vision getting worse?” without speaking to a doctor in person. Eye Center of Texas is one of the leading ophthalmology practices in Houston.
With nationally recognized doctors Dr. Mark L. Mayo and Edward C. Wade at the helm of Eye Center of Texas’s extremely talented team, patients can expect top-quality treatment and care. While we are most well-known for providing thousands with restored vision via laser cataract surgery and LASIK, we are also highly experienced in other eye health issues both common and rare.
Ready to see your way to clearer vision? Request a consultation with Eye Center of Texas by calling us at 713-797-1010 or contacting us online today.
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