Eye Health Archive


Older adults with vision problems face higher dementia risks

A 2023 study suggests older adults with vision problems, including up close or at a distance, face significantly higher risks of dementia than those with no vision problems.

A tough question: When should an older driver stop driving?

Navigating whether or when an older person should limit or stop driving is tricky. Whether these concerns are about a family member or yourself, it's helpful to be aware of red flags and to understand how driving abilities –– and risk for motor vehicle accidents –– change with age.

Insider tips for a smooth recovery from cataract surgery

Early planning can help people recover well from cataract surgery. That planning can include reviewing post-procedure instructions in advance; investigating whether a simplified eye drops regimen is available and will be covered by insurance; learning the right way to use eye drops, and teaching a loved one to help with their application if necessary; and preparing to take a break from certain physical activities, such as bending over, lifting objects that are 10 pounds or heavier, cleaning, vacuuming, or doing laundry.

Kidneys, eyes, ears, and more: Why do we have a spare?

The human body has excess capacity — that is, our organs have more reserve than most of us will ever need. Why are we built with this natural redundancy? And which body parts can safely fail or be removed without impairing health?

A look at dry eye

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye problems among older adults. Common symptoms include a gritty feeling in the eyes, sensitivity to light, or fluctuating vision that comes and goes. People with the condition can have good and bad periods, but by following prevention methods and seeking treatment when the disease flares, they can keep dry eye from interfering with their lives.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: An IV treatment for thyroid eye disease

An ad for a medication to treat thyroid eye disease accurately describes the symptoms of the condition, but as is common with such ads it does not discuss other possible treatment options, or other information that people should be aware of.

Tools that help when it's hard to see

High-tech tools can help people with vision impairment. Examples include accessibility features (such as speech-to-text or text-to-speech) on a smartphone or computer; apps for navigation, magnification, or describing a scene; wearable devices that use video cameras to capture images and then project them onto tiny screens inside a headset; peripheral prism glasses, which shift light from one side of the eye to the other to make up for losses in field of vision; and household gadgets such as "talking" thermometers, scales, and calculators that audibly read out results.

Toss your reading glasses?

By age 75, about half of all Americans develop at least one cataract, a cloudy area in the eye's lens that can make it harder to read, do handiwork, golf, or drive. Stopgap measures—such as using brighter lights, avoiding nighttime driving, or wearing tinted glasses to reduce glare—can delay the need for cataract surgery. Cataract surgery has evolved to offer a variety of artificial lens options to replace the natural lens removed. Most lenses can reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. People should check their health insurance coverage since most advanced lenses aren't covered.

What's that speck in my eye?

Floaters are shadows that develop in people's field of vision and become more noticeable in certain light. Aging, cataract surgery, and being nearsighted make floaters more likely.

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