Deteriorating eyesight is a common concern for older adults. However, no vision problem should be ignored. Changes in how you see could point to an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Even if the changes are harmless, chances are an eye doctor can treat your eyesight troubles and improve your quality of life.
Eye Conditions & Disorders Common Among Seniors
Aging eyes are often more delicate and prone to problems than younger eyes. Many seniors also have diabetes or other underlying problems that complicate eye care. As a result, the risk of developing eye conditions increases when you reach your 60s and beyond. These include:
- Trouble focusing on up-close objects (presbyopia)
- Difficulty discerning contrast between colors
- Needing more light to read
- Pupil contraction
- Eyelid inflammation
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Dry eye
Serious eye disorders are also more likely to appear with age, including:
- Cataracts: A cloudy area in the lens of the eye, or cataract, develops slowly over time. Most people develop cataracts when they get older. Fortunately, the condition is treatable by surgically replacing the affected lens with an artificial one.
- Glaucoma: This group of eye diseases damages the optic nerve, causing gradual vision loss. A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to diagnose glaucoma before symptoms appear. Treatment options include eye drops, other medications, and surgery.
- Macular degeneration: The largest risk factor for age-related macular degeneration is being 50 or older. This disorder causes vision loss in the center of the field of vision, but it rarely leads to complete blindness. There are ways to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but surgery is the only way to fix it.
- Diabetic retinopathy: This progressive condition affects people with high blood sugar. It can cause vision loss and eventual blindness if left untreated. While not curable, diabetic retinopathy can be slowed or stopped by taking medication and controlling underlying diabetes.
- Retinal detachment: When the tissue at the back of the eye (known as the retina) pulls away from the supportive tissues surrounding it, a sudden loss of peripheral vision, flashes of light, or excessive floaters may occur. This rare condition requires prompt medical attention to save the vision in the affected eye.
Why Routine Eye Care for Seniors is So Important
Whether you’re experiencing typical age-related vision changes or symptoms of a concerning eye disorder, you should plan to make routine eye care an integral part of your health regimen. Here’s why:
- Detect problems early: Vision problems progress more quickly in older adults, meaning routine eye care is essential to identify a condition or disease and begin treatment before it significantly affects your eyesight. Seniors are advised to visit the eye doctor once a year.
- Preserve your eyesight: Managing diagnosed eye conditions with medication and routine eye appointments can help your vision remain as clear as possible for as long as possible. This allows you to continue enjoying the hobbies and passions you love, such as reading, golfing, or knitting.
- Continue driving safely: Slowly degenerating eyesight can make driving unsafe, yet you may be reluctant to give up the car keys. Eye care for seniors can help you drive safely for years longer than if you neglected your eyesight.
- Reduce falls: Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, but they are not an inevitable part of aging. Scheduling routine eye exams to check for visual acuity can reduce your risk of falling and getting injured.
In-Home Care Professionals Promote Senior Eye Health
If you’re the family member of an aging adult, you may have safety concerns as they navigate the changing vision that comes with age. That’s where an in-home care provider can prove invaluable. Here’s how this professional can assist your loved one:
- Offer eye exam reminders: Keeping up with routine eye care is important for all seniors. A care provider can remind your loved one when it’s time to schedule or attend an eye exam and can even arrange transportation if needed.
- Create a safer home environment: Poor eyesight increases the risk of accidents. A care professional can help make a senior’s home safer by removing obstacles that could lead to a slip, trip, or fall.
- Handle daily tasks: Reading recipes, matching laundered socks, shaving, and putting on makeup is difficult to do with vision problems. A caregiver can provide the help a senior needs when attempting to complete these and other day-to-day tasks.
- Assist with vision aids: Whether your loved one needs to keep track of their glasses, adjust their cell phone for easier viewing, or set up voiceover features on the TV, an in-home care provider is the perfect person to help.
- Manage risk factors: Certain lifestyle tips can improve vision and slow the progression of age-related eye diseases. A care professional can prepare nutritious meals, encourage regular exercise, and remind older adults to take their medications, all of which promote eye health.
- Offer companionship: Vision loss makes older adults more prone to loneliness and isolation. A caregiver doubles as a social companion, providing stimulating interaction in the comfort of the senior’s home.
Arrange Personal Care Services from BrightStar Care
The compassionate, knowledgeable home care professionals at BrightStar Care always strive to give you more—more convenience, more security, more peace of mind. Whether they’re arranging transportation to an eye exam, reminding a senior to apply their eye drops, or reading incoming text messages from family members, you can feel confident your loved one is cared for, even when you can’t be there.
We offer multiple levels of home care, including non-medical personal care, companion care, and skilled nursing care. To learn more about our different services and which one is right for you, please contact us at 866-618-7827.