The Harvard Medical School talks about what happens to the eyes over age 50. Many may wonder if aging eyesight affects life insurance rates?
Age is the main factor for developing one of four disorders that pose a threat to vision – cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Half of all individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 have cataracts and after age 75 that increases to 70 percent.
Contrary to public belief, the cataract is not just a film on the eye but a clouding of the lens in the eye, according to the National Eye Institute. A cataract can occur in both eyes but cannot spread from one eye to the other. Most age-related cataracts develop from protein clumping and as the cataract grows, the vision gets gradually gets worse. The color may change as well.
Who is at risk as they age?
• Certain diseases (e.g., diabetes)
• Personal behavior (e.g., smoking, alcohol use)
• The environment (e.g., prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight)
Most cataracts are related to aging; however, cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems such as glaucoma. Traumatic cataracts can occur after an eye injury some years later.
The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new eye-wear, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses.
If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. According to All About Vision, 1.75 million US residents currently have advanced age-related macular degeneration. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness according to the US National Institute of Health.
How can you maintain healthy eyes?
Seeing your eye doctor regularly is key. An eye exam is essential to detect any issues such as glaucoma. Protect your eyes with lubricating eye drops when dry, or use a humidifier. Wear sunglasses with 100 percent AVA and AVB protection. Do not smoke and eat food rich in antioxidants that include salmon, leafy greens such as spinach, blueberries, blackberries and broccoli.
Generally, common age-related eye issues do not affect rates for life insurance. But say you are diagnosed with glaucoma. Glaucoma is not the problem but it can be painful so if controlled by chronic pain medication, that will affect your insurance premium.
Life insurance always questions if the condition is under control, any complications that may be present due to the condition and compliance with your physician, meaning you must be following the doctor’s orders.
Want to learn more about life insurance? Read our article The Most Frequently Asked Life Insurance Questions.