It is amazing how well our eyes perform the complex tasks of relaying visual information to our brains over our lifetimes. But, like the rest of the body, the eye ages with time. Even if we’re lucky enough to remain free of injury or disease as we age, our eyes still experience slight changes. These changes can affect our abilities to judge subtleties of color, light and dark. For artists and art aficionados, even the smallest change in vison quality can lead to unique and significant problems.
The aging eye faces a number of challenges. Among them are:
- The eye produces fewer tears. This dryness can result in the cornea losing some clarity.
- The pupil stays smaller in both light and dark conditions, which can make focusing in dark conditions more of a challenge.
- The lens becomes thicker, denser, and less elastic, so focusing becomes more difficult.
- The retina – as well as the brain – loses a small percentage of nerve cells every year. As a result, there are fewer retinal cells to pick up the images and code them properly for the brain
Because of these reasons, our eyes lose ability to discriminate contrasts and see in low light conditions. There are issues of concern for all of us, but for artists and people who appreciate artwork especially, the difficulty to distinguish between colors is a deep concern.
Here are some ways you can keep your eyes healthy:
- Eye drops can help keep your eyes lubricated and clean throughout the day. For most of us, any over the counter eye drop is good, but for some of us who suffer from more acute dryness, your eye doctor can provide a prescription strength option.
- Avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes. This can actually make whatever is irritating your eye worse, especially if your hands aren’t clean.
- Maintain good lighting, especially if you’re working. Our discrimination of colors is based more on the relative amounts of red, green, and blue than on the absolute wavelength.
Of course, one of the most important ways you can help take care of your eyes is to visit your eye doctor. Having them perform an annual eye exam as well as discussing any vision issues you may have is one of the most important and best ways to protect your eyes. Remember: you only get one pair and it’s up to you take care of them!
Your eyes are a complex work of art. Help preserve them and sign up for a great vision insurance plan.
Learn about a Vision Plan through ASBA.