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Common Eye Complaints

Not just a part of aging

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Updated July 31, 2006

Presbyopia (prez-bee-OH-pee-uh) is a slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print. It is a normal process that happens over a lifetime. You may not notice any change until after the age of 40. People with presbyopia often hold reading materials at arm’s length. Some get headaches or "tired eyes" while reading or doing other close work. Presbyopia is often corrected with reading glasses.

Floaters are tiny spots or specks that float across the field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters often are normal, but sometimes they warn of eye problems such as retinal detachment, especially if they happen with light flashes. If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes, see your eye doctor.

Dry eyes happen when tear glands don’t make enough tears or make poor quality tears. Dry tears can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning, or even some loss of vision. Your eye doctor may suggest using a humidifier in the home or special eye drops ("artificial tears"). Surgery may be needed for more serious cases of dry eyes.

Tearing, or having too many tears, can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes. Protecting your eyes (by wearing sunglasses, for instance) sometimes solves the problem. Tearing may also mean that you have a more serious problem, such as an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. Your eye doctor can treat or correct both of these conditions.

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