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21 May 2019

Vision Health for Seniors

   

Topics: Vision Care, Eye Care, Becoming a Senior, Growing Old

As we get older our vision will change. Whether you’ve noticed it in your own or in your loved one, changes will happen.

While your health is always important, in honour Vision Health Month in May, understanding possible issues and taking the necessary steps to help prevent serious issues is vital.

The gradual effects of aging and changes in the eyes of our loved ones include but aren’t limited to some of the following:

  • Dry eyes
  • Difficulty in seeing contrast and colours
  • Trouble reading smaller print
  • Loss off perception, making it harder to judge distances

Luckily in many cases normal age-related vision issues can be correct with either glasses, medication or surgery. Even in more serious situations, vision aids and changes within the home can help, along with services like found here to assist.

Knowing there are ways to help is always important but equally so is understanding and learning the various symptoms of vision deterioration.

  • Difficulties driving at night
  • Squinting and/or a greater sensitivity to light
  • Spilling food or drinks because you misjudge where items are.
  • Seeing flashes of light or rapid movement from the corners of your eyes
  • Uncontrollable eye movement

Serious Health Effects of Vision Loss

Cataracts

Refers to the gradual clouding of the natural lenses of the eye which doesn’t allow light to reach the retina.

Such conditions may prevent you from being able to read or drive unless the cataract is removed.

Floaters

Small spots or specks that float across your field of vision. They are often normal and sometimes moving the eye around will make the spots shift out of your central vision. However, if you notice a sudden change in the number or types of spots, or if they come with light flashes, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible. They may be signs of a serious eye disease.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when the pressure within the eye starts to destroy the nerve fibres within the retina. If not treated early, glaucoma can cause vision loss and blindness. Because most people have no early symptoms, regular eye examinations are required to detect it. Treatment may include eye drops, medication, or surgery.

Age-related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration occurs when the macula (the central part of the retina responsible for sharp focus) is damaged. This damage may be the result of many factors, including aging, and it causes permanent loss of central vision. Regular eye exams can detect the disease early on and laser treatments can slow down the central vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy

As the name suggests, this is an eye problem linked to diabetes. Changes to the blood vessels caused by diabetes can starve the retina of oxygen. This condition can go through many stages and can result in blindness. Symptoms include cloudy vision and seeing spots. If you have diabetes, be sure to have regular eye examinations and tell your eye specialist that you are diabetic. Treatment can slow down vision loss. Laser treatment in the early stages is often successful.

 

How can you reduce the risk?

  • If you are over the age of 45, have your eyes examined on a regular basis.
  • If you suffer from dry eyes (gritty, itchy, or burning), a home humidifier and eye drops may help. In a few serious cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
  • If your eyes water, it may be that you are more sensitive to light, wind, or temperature change. Simply shielding your eyes or wearing sunglasses may solve the problem. However, this condition may be the result of an eye infection, eye irritation, or a blocked tear duct, all of which can be treated. See your doctor to find out the exact cause and treatment.
  • Turn on the lights. Seeing better can sometimes be as easy as changing a light bulb to one with a higher wattage. Putting 100 or 150 watt bulbs in your lamps can reduce eye strain. Just make sure the fixture is designed for that wattage. Bright light is important in stairways to help prevent falls.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking tobacco is a major risk factor in the early onset of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Reduce glare as much as possible by using good lampshades, glare shields on computer monitors, and sunglasses. Sunglasses should provide 99 to 100% UV-A and UV-B protection. UV rays can harm your eyes even on a cloudy day.
  • Protect your eyes from accidents in your home.
  • Put a grease shield over frying foods.
  • Make sure spray cans and nozzles are pointed away from you when spraying.
  • Wear safety glasses in the workshop and when using chemical products such as ammonia.
  • Be careful of a recoil when using bungee cords.
  • Eat your carrots. A daily dose of the vitamins and minerals found in melons, citrus fruit, carrots, spinach, and kale may help slow the progress of age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.
  • Don't drive at night if you have problems with depth perception, glare, or other vision difficulties.

Senior Helpers offers a variety of services to help your loved one who may be coping with various issues. For more information contact us today