NIGHT VISION AND AGING By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Is your night vision not what it used to be? If so, you are not alone. Night vision worsens with age due to a number of factors: pupil size, retinal changes and cataracts. Next time you are in a mixed age group, take a look at the pupils of the children compared to the older adults. Pupils gradually get smaller with age. This is not noticeable on bright days but in the dark the smaller pupils limit the amount of light that reaches the back of the eye called the retina.
Another reason night vision declines with age has to do with the retina itself which contains rods and cones. We depend on the cones for color vision and reading small print while the rods are critical for seeing in low light. As time goes on, we have fewer and fewer rods. Not only is that a problem, but the rods we do have take longer to adjust to dark environments.
While there is not much you can do about your pupil size or number of rods, you can potentially improve your night vision if it is affected by the third reason: cataracts. Cataracts are caused by a clouding of the lens in the front part of the eye. When significant, they also limit the amount of light that reaches the retina. Besides blurred vision at night, other common symptoms of cataracts are halos or glare around lights. The good news is that cataract surgery is now a 15 minute out-patient procedure with a 99% satisfaction rating.
If you are experiencing problems with night or other vision, be sure to have a thorough eye examination to rule-out easily treatable problems like cataracts or an outdated glasses prescription. See you soon!
Dr. Mark German is an Optometrist practicing with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. Josephine-Liezl Cueto at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin. He specializes in comprehensive eye care for all ages and contact lens fitting, especially for those who have had problems with contacts in the past.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.