Harvard Health Letter

Blinded by the night

Poor night vision is the result of changes in the pupil, lens, and retina. Does eating carrots help? Probably not for well-nourished Americans.

It's been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. At a more mundane level, they also say a lot about how old we are. With advancing years, we're prone to a number of serious — and less-serious (but bothersome) — conditions of the eye.

The prime example of a serious age-related eye problem is macular degeneration, a retinal condition that's a leading cause of legal blindness among people over age 55 in the developed world. Age-related nuisances include a falloff in tear production that results in drier and itchier eyes. Eyelids also droop and sag, like other body parts. And starting around the fifth decade, almost all of us suffer from presbyopia (Greek for "old sight"), an inability to focus on objects close to our eyes.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »