Vision loss isn’t something that any of us want to deal with. Because so many seniors deal with vision issues, though, it’s simply accepted and viewed as commonplace.
That isn’t how it should be, though.
Our vision is precious no matter what age we are. Therefore, we should all do what we can to protect our eyesight and keep our eyes healthy.
Whether you do this on your own or get assistance from family members or caregivers, the main thing to remember is just how important education is.
Now is the perfect time to learn more about this eye disease and what can be done to stop or slow down its progression.
But eye health education should go beyond this. That’s why we wanted to share with you some of the most common threats to vision that seniors face, as well as what can be done about them.
The Challenges of Aging and Vision Loss – What You Can Do About Them
The following four eye conditions are more common among seniors than other age groups. Learn about what causes them and how you can treat and even prevent them if possible.
Glaucoma is the number one cause of vision loss in the U.S. This disease attacks the optic nerve, and without treatment can lead to blindness.
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- A family history of glaucoma
- African Americans over age 50 are at higher risk
- Mexican Americans over age 65 are at higher risk.
With annual exams and prescribed daily glaucoma eye drops, the disease can be controlled.
2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is caused by damage to a part of the retina called the macula. There are two types of degeneration – dry and wet. Dry degeneration occurs when the retina deteriorates, while wet degeneration is caused by leaking blood vessels that grow under the retina.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this eye disease, and most people don’t know they have it until the disease has already progressed to the point of permanent vision loss.
This is why it’s so important to see an eye doctor annually. If they notice warning signs – like risk factors or issues with your retina – they can provide you with preventative options. These include vitamin and mineral recommendations, anti-VEGF drugs, and laser surgery.
Nearly half of the senior population will develop cataracts. A cataract develops when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. The cause of this is typically age or a health condition like diabetes.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is not only safe, it’s completely effective. The old lens is removed and replaced with a prosthetic lens that can provide improved vision. In some cases, the improvement rate is 100%.
4. Diabetic Eye Disease
This disease, also referred to as diabetic retinopathy, damages the retina. When blood sugar levels are too high, the blood vessels within the retina are damaged. The result: blurry vision and eventually blindness.
People with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma.
Thankfully, regulating blood sugar levels can prevent vision loss. If vision loss has already occurred, there are some treatments that can help slow the progression. But early diagnosis is imperative for this to happen.
What If You or Your Loved One Already Have Low Vision Issues?
What should you do if you or a loved one is already dealing with vision loss? Low vision tools have been fabricated to help people in this situation. These tools can help you overcome some of the daily challenges associated with vision loss.
Helpful tools include:
- Magnifying lenses
- Illuminated magnifying lenses
- Lens filters to eliminate or reduce glare
- Audio books and podcasts (as opposed to video)
- Specially adapted television and computer screens.
Protect Your Loved One’s Vision with Regular Eye Exams
How can you ensure that your loved one’s vision stays strong? The best thing you can do for them is to take them to their eye doctor for annual examinations.
An annual exam provides eye doctors with the information they need to help your loved one maintain good eye health. If there is an issue, the eye doctor can catch it early and take the steps needed to prevent disease progression.
We understand that it can be difficult to care for all of your loved one’s needs. That’s where Intrepid comes in. Our home health aides can assist you by taking you or your loved one to doctor’s appointments – including the eye doctor.
Don’t leave your eye health – or that of your loved one – to chance. Get the help you need to make eye health a priority.