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Module 1: Percepção visual

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Psychology -> Old age continued

Old age continued


Click on GO to view the tunnel vision that results from chronic glaucoma. IMAGE

Another condition which occurs most frequently in people over the age of 40 is glaucoma. Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye. Remember that this nerve carries information from the light sensitive retina to the brain where it is perceived as a picture. The eye needs a certain amount of pressure to keep the eyeball in shape however, if eye pressure rises, the optic nerve comes under too much pressure and it can be damaged.

Age is a risk factor for chronic glaucoma. It is uncommon below the age of 40 but affects 1% of people over this age and 5% over 65. The danger with chronic glaucoma is that the person's eye may seem perfectly normal. There is no pain and their eyesight will seem to be unchanged. However their vision is being damaged. The early loss in the field of vision is usually in the shape of an arc, a little above and/or below the centre when looking straight ahead. If the glaucoma is untreated, this blank area spreads both outwards and inwards. Eventually it is like looking through a long tube hence it is called 'tunnel vision'. In time even this sight would be lost.

Presbyopia, better known as age-related long sightedness, affects the majority of people in their 40's and almost everyone by the age of 55. It is a condition in which the eye loses its ability to focus on near objects. Presbyopia is a natural and unavoidable change which can cause blurred near vision, eye fatigue and even headaches.

A sufferer of presbyopia or age-related long sightedness. IMAGE

Retinal detachment can also occur in the elderly. It is when the retina separates from the pigment caused by holes or tears in the retina, a tumour or fluid pressure in the area. Apart from a sudden loss of vision, other early symptoms could be light flashes or an unusual number of spots and floaters.