Many seniors think they see better than they do

Photo by Aaron Andrew Ang on Unsplash

A new study out of Sweden this month suggests that many older people could improve their vision by getting glasses, or updating their prescription.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg assessed 1,200 70-year-olds and found that most were content with their eyesight, but many overestimated how well they could actually see.

The study found that 61.5% could significantly improve their vision by getting glasses or changing the power of the ones they already had.

"We're really healthy and have good eyesight in Sweden, and being 70 doesn't have to mean your vision is poor," said co-author Lena Havstam Johansson.

"Visual impairment can creep up on you, making it difficult to notice that your eyes are getting worse. So it's a good idea to visit an optometrist regularly when you get older, even if you don't feel your sight is deteriorating," Johansson said in a university news release.

The findings show that many older people who think their eyesight is good might be mistaken.

Having glasses of incorrect power was equally common among men and women, but men's sight tended to be slightly better. Researchers said that could be due to a higher rate of cataracts among women.

Slightly more than 27% of women had cataracts, compared with just over 19% of men.

The most common eye disease among the study participants examined was cataract (23.4%), followed by age-related macular degeneration (AMD, 4.7%) and glaucoma (4.3%), while 1.4% had diabetic retinopathy.

These and other findings were recently published in the scientific journal Acta Ophthalmologica: Vision‐related quality of life and visual function in a 70‐year‐old Swedish population

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