The fact that the term “age-related” is used in eye issues underscores the seeming inevitability of senior eye problems. However, vision loss isn’t exactly a part of the aging process. It’s just that, as we age, the risk becomes higher. Even if that’s the case, everyone’s risk factors vary.
What’s good is that eye deterioration can be mitigated and even prevented with the help of modern treatment options. Of course, it won’t hurt to be informed of the potential causes of vision loss in the elderly. There’s really no better analogy to it than intimately knowing beforehand the dangers you’ll be facing so you can shield yourself from them as long as possible.
Conditions You Need to Watch Out For
According to studies, one in three seniors over the age of 65 will have a certain degree of vision loss. That’s obviously a significant ratio, which has been further proven by the sheer amount of conditions that can lead to it and that seniors need to be mindful of. These include the following:
Did you know that over 80% of blind people in the world, more or less, fit the senior category? And number one is cataract. It’s characterized by a clouding of the eye’s lens, leading to foggy vision and blurring. The condition tends to result in blindness simply because there is no existing cure, except for surgery.
It may arise as a result of injury. However, aging is also a common cause since it results in a change in the protein and fiber makeup of the lens tissue.
As of 2021, more than three million people in the United States are estimated to have glaucoma. In the early stages, it manifests as spots in your peripheral vision, sometimes accompanied by headache, eye pain, and blurred vision, among others. As the disease progresses, the senior often experiences tunnel vision.
Glaucoma has plenty of treatment options, thankfully. Senior health care in Madison partnered with compounding pharmacies that often make prescription eye drops and oral medications available based on the senior’s exact requirements.
- Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of central vision loss along with diabetic retinopathy, which we shall also be discussing below. It’s termed as “central” because it usually begins as a dark spot in the center of the field of vision that gradually becomes larger over time.
Besides age as a primary risk factor, there’s also cardiovascular disease, race (more common among Caucasians), obesity, and genetics. It’s one of the more common eye problems that seniors suffer, affecting over 11 million Americans at present.
Laser therapy is the usual approach, as well as anti-angiogenic drugs for wet macular degeneration.
- Diabetic Retinopathy
The presence of too much sugar in the blood can damage the nerves and blood vessels of the eyes. In retinopathy, it’s usually the damage to the latter that’s the main cause. The disease can either be nonproliferative (mostly in the early stage where ischemia hasn’t happened yet but symptoms are already present) or proliferative (usually happens after ischemia occurs as the disease progresses, resulting in severe vision loss).
With these facts in mind, diabetic retinopathy makes it all the more necessary for diabetes treatment to be an integral part of eye care for the elderly.
Best Strategies for Senior Living Communities to Adopt
Given the facts stated above, there is no sure-fire way to keep your eyes from deteriorating, leading to vision loss. That doesn’t mean that you can’t delay its progress. Proper vision care for seniors is always encouraged by doctors precisely because it’s not exactly a wasted effort.
The smartest approaches for any kind of senior daycare in Ohio to take are the following:
- Never stop educating caregivers and seniors regarding the possible causes of vision loss and their respective risk factors. An in-depth awareness of the nature of each impairment will go a long way in ensuring optimal eye care for seniors. Without the knowledge, you’re only prone to committing mistakes and making false assumptions, which only tend to have disastrous consequences.
- Be consistent in your testing. Every senior care near me should at least be able to promise and provide their seniors with an annual eye test. You’ll be surprised by the number of senior communities that don’t do this, and it shows in their seniors who tell anyone who asks when they took their last eye test.
- The attending physicians should, as much as possible, be specialist in the particular impairment that the senior is being tested and observed for. If you’re suffering from macular degeneration, wouldn’t it be logical to be examined by a retina specialist?
What Can Seniors Do?
If you’re an older adult living in a senior home care in Ohio, you can also take proactive steps in your eye care routine.
- Aim to reduce the glare that you subject your eyes to on a daily basis. Learn the optimal positions in beds, sofas, and chairs that you frequently use to minimize it.
- There should be sufficient lighting wherever you are and based on the time of day. Be mindful of the direction of the lighting in your room. As much as possible, it should be directly overhead, especially at night.
- Use the right prescription glasses, so as to avoid straining your eyes when doing activities like reading and writing.
- Feel free to use apps that will reduce the strain on your eyes or lend themselves to overall eye care. For instance, you can use light detector apps to easily find light sources nearby while there are others that help you identify the color and even read labels and text that are hard to read otherwise.
Not all eyes are the same, so you can expect treatment options to depend a lot on one’s specific case. It’s important to remember that when seniors are considering the possible risk factors they have with regards to the causes mentioned above. This underlines the need to always be in the know regarding your general health and for caregivers to be vigilant when it comes to this.