Eyesight Getting Worse in Your 20s: Is it Normal?

an eye checkup
  • Vision decline is a common problem due to age-related changes and environmental factors. 
  • Common signs of worsening vision include headaches, eye fatigue, light sensitivity, and difficulties with night vision.
  • Potential conditions that can arise with age-related changes include dry eye syndrome, cataracts, and glaucoma. 
  • Environmental factors like digital screen use, smoking, and diet can contribute to vision decline. 
  • Eye exams help prevent vision decline as they help detect any underlying issues early on.

As you get older, your vision can begin to decline naturally. But is it normal for your eyesight to get worse before you are 30? The answer is yes. Though this may sound scary, there are a few reasons why it happens and steps you can take to keep your eyes healthy. Let’s look at why some young adults experience vision decline and what you can do about it.

Age-Related Eye Changes

It’s natural for your eyesight to decline over time, but in some cases, people in their 20s experience a decrease in vision due to aging. As we get older, our eyes undergo changes that cause visual disturbances such as presbyopia (loss of near focus), dry eye syndrome, cataracts, and glaucoma. These age-related changes can worsen conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism and lead to new problems like difficulty reading small print or seeing things up close.

Signs Of Worsening Eyesight

One of the most common signs of worsening eyesight is difficulty seeing things up close. This usually occurs with age-related changes such as presbyopia, in which the eye lens and its muscles become stiffer, making it harder to focus on near objects. People may also have to squint or strain to see small prints or objects in the distance. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to have your eyes checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to rule out any other underlying causes. Other signs include:

  • Blurry vision at certain distances
  • Double vision (seeing two of everything)
  • Headaches caused by eye strain
  • Eye fatigue and discomfort after long periods of reading or looking at a computer screen, tablet, phone, etc.
  • Problems with bright lights and glare sensitivity
  • Difficulties with night vision

Possible Conditions That Can Arise

As one enters their 20s, it is not uncommon to experience a decline in vision. However, it is crucial to understand that several possible conditions could arise due to age-related changes in the eye. These include presbyopia, dry eye syndrome, cataracts, and glaucoma, all of which can lead to near or far-sightedness and problems with night vision and glare sensitivity.

  • Presbyopia: An age-related condition that results in difficulty focusing on near objects due to the eye’s lens becoming stiffer.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: A condition that causes dryness, irritation, and discomfort of the eyes.
  • Cataracts: An eye disorder caused by the clouding of the eye’s lens, resulting in blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night.
  • Glaucoma: A condition that damages the optic nerve, resulting in blind spots in the field of vision and loss of peripheral vision.

woman holding cellphone

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors like digital screen use also contribute to vision decline in young adults. Prolonged exposure to blue light from devices such as phones and tablets can cause digital eyestrain, which leads to blurry vision, dry eyes, headaches, neck pain, and even double vision.

In addition to blue light exposure from digital devices, other environmental factors can contribute to vision decline in young adults. These factors can include smoking, exposure to UV radiation, and diet.

  • Smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. It also increases the risk of developing glaucoma, an eye disease that can lead to blindness.
  • Exposure to UV radiation is also a factor in vision decline. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause damage to your eyes, leading to cataracts and other vision problems.
  • Your diet may also be playing a role in your vision decline. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your eyes from damage.

woman getting eye exam

Eye Exams

The best way for young adults to prevent vision decline is by going to an eye clinic for a check-up with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An exam will help detect any underlying issues with your eyes early on so they can be addressed before they become more serious problems over time.

How It Works

An eye exam usually consists of several tests that assess your vision, ocular health, and the structure of your eyes. The first step in an eye exam is to measure and evaluate your visual acuity. This is done by having you read a series of letters on a chart from a distance. This helps the doctor determine if you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism.

The next step is to check your eyes’ internal and external structure. The doctor will use a biomicroscope to examine the health of your retina and other structures in your eye. This can help detect any damage or disease in its early stages before it leads to more severe problems. The doctor may also use a slit-lamp microscope to examine the front and back of your eyes for any signs of disease or injury.

Finally, the doctor will evaluate your ocular motility, which is the ability of your eyes to move in a coordinated fashion. This helps the doctor determine any signs of muscle imbalance or eye strain.

Common Recommendations

To reduce the risk of digital eyestrain and other eye conditions related to device use, try taking frequent breaks throughout the day and using blue light filters on your devices. Additionally, wear sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from UV rays which can damage the cornea and retina over time.

In addition, make sure you follow through with any recommended treatments or lifestyle modifications that may be prescribed following an exam. This can include wearing glasses or contact lenses during digital device use or avoiding certain activities that could exacerbate existing conditions, like playing sports without protective eyewear if necessary.

It’s normal for your vision to get worse before 30 due to age-related changes in the eyes and environmental factors like prolonged exposure to blue light from screens. To reduce the risk of developing further issues with their vision, young adults should get regular eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist and follow through with any recommended treatments or lifestyle modifications prescribed after the exam. With these simple steps taken care of regularly, you can ensure healthy eyesight now and into the future!

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