We are living longer and longer… but it is not only important to blow out candles, but to do so with a good quality of life. And vision plays a key role in this. For this reason, one of the greatest current challenges is to prevent or slow down those eye diseases that occur as we age, many of them related to retinal problems.
With the increase in life expectancy, we reach retirement age with the desire to continue being active, autonomous and enjoying the world around us: take that trip we had pending, devote more time to our hobbies, see the new generations of the family grow up… We want to take advantage of these moments and we know that one of the keys is to enjoy good health. For this reason, we are increasingly taking preventive care of our skin or our body, but we do not always do the same with our eyes, despite how important it is for everyone to see well.
The good news is that many general health habits, such as avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, following a balanced Mediterranean diet and not smoking, also have a positive impact on good oxygenation of the ocular tissues and, therefore, on their better preservation over time. The other fundamental pillar of prevention is the checkups at the ophthalmologistIt is recommended that they be annual, especially after the age of 55-60 years, since many damages in our eyes begin to develop without warning signs.
Healthy habits and periodic control to prevent AMD.
Beyond cataracts, that inevitable process by which the crystalline lens (natural lens of our eyes) loses transparency and that, sooner or later, ends up affecting us all, one of the eye diseases to which special attention should be paid, due to its high prevalence and the threat it can pose to vision, is age-related macular degeneration or AMD. In fact, it is the leading cause of legal blindness in Spain after the age of 65, and its development is influenced by aging, lifestyle and genetics.
But, what exactly does this pathology consist of? “AMD is a disease that causes a progressive deterioration of the macula or central area of the retina, where vision is sharper and more precise”, explains the Dr. Rafael Navarroretina expert at IMO Miranza Group. This translates into difficulties in detail vision: reading, recognizing faces, sewing, driving, watching television, cooking or performing many other daily activities. AMD patients usually notice poor vision in the early stages.
Without ophthalmologic control or adequate treatment, the disease can progress to severe stages, and can considerably limit the vision of the person who suffers from it, with a blurred area or a dark spot that settles in the center of the visual field and spreads. If, in addition, straight lines begin to look crooked, it may be indicative of entering the most severe form of the disease, wet AMD, “which progresses more rapidly and aggressively than dry AMD, although the former can be treated and the latter cannot”, Dr. Navarro points out.
Improving the treatment of AMD is one of the main areas of research in ophthalmology, both to obtain more effective and long-lasting drugs for the wet form, and to manage to stop dryness for the first time. It should be taken into account that in our country there are more than 700,000 people with AMD, and that, According to studies, up to 3 million Spaniards are at risk of developing it..
Macular membrane and retinal detachment.
Another common ocular pathology, which mainly affects older people and also damages the macula, is the epiretinal macular membrane. The ophthalmologist at IMO Miranza Group explains that “these membranes are like a kind of crumpled cellophane paper that is placed over the retina and prevents us from seeing clearly. Its solution is surgical, as is that of retinal detachment, which, although it can have multiple causes, also tends to be more common with age.
“As far as retinal detachment is concerned, it is preceded by vitreous detachment, which is the gel found inside the eyeball. As a result of aging, this gel loses its consistency and goes from being like a grape, which perfectly fills the eye, to being more like a raisin. When the vitreous contracts, it can pull at some point on the retina to which it is attached and cause it to break and detach, which can have serious consequences for vision”. That is why it is necessary to see an ophthalmologist without delay when alarm symptoms are detected: “The first thing is the sudden appearance or increase of flying flies or black spots that move, followed by the vision of flashes of light or flashes and, later, a black curtain that falls in front of our eye”, warns the ophthalmologist.
Importance of vision in well-being
The specialist emphasizes that, thanks to current techniques and resources, many patients who used to irremediably lose their vision due to retinal pathologies can now preserve it at very satisfactory levels”. This is of great relevance for the autonomy, relationship capacity and well-being of the senior population, in addition to other general and ocular health conditions, such as cataracts, whose surgery must be performed sooner or later (preferably avoiding long delays). “At IMO Miranza Group we try to offer comprehensive ophthalmological care to our patients and to accompany them in their follow-up, aware of the impact that neglecting vision at this stage of life can have”, concludes the Dr. Navarro. In the end, it’s not just about seeing well, but about feeling more confident and secure, less dependent and more active, without our eyes retiring prematurely.
Read more: IMO Miranza Group
Tel. 93 400 07 00