Vision Problems in Seniors

While some minor changes to vision are a normal part of the aging process, more serious issues may be one of many eye conditions that are commonly diagnosed in elderly patients. Here, the home care professionals at Avila Home Care provide information on a few of the most common conditions.

Presbyopia

This is a common condition that makes fine print or close objects more difficult to see and is a normal process that happens as we age. Most individuals will not notice any major changes to their vision until the age of 40 or older. The condition is easily corrected with reading glasses or contacts, which can be prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters are stringy, cobweb-like strands that may appear in your field of vision when you look at  something light-colored or bright. They are typically caused when the vitreous substance that fills the eye begins to shrink and become stringy as we age, casting shadows on the retina, but may also be caused by other issues. While eye floaters are typically not serious, there are instances when they may be a symptom of a more severe issue—if eye floaters are accompanied by flashes of light or a loss of peripheral vision, a medical professional should be consulted immediately. If eye floaters become so intense that they obscure your vision, a vitrectomy, or surgical procedure that removes the vitreous gel from the eye, may be able to improve the issue.

Cataracts

Cataracts are cloudy areas that block the lens of the eye, which prevents images from being processed by the retina. These cloudy spots often form slowly, without pain or redness, and those who have them might not notice them until their vision is severely affected. Some cataracts may stay small and not severely impact a person’s vision. If cataracts become a severe issue, an ophthalmologist can perform surgery to remove them and replace the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is caused by the deterioration of the retina, the part of the eye that processes images. This can severely impair a person’s vision in later stages, and there is currently no known cure for the condition. An ophthalmologist can, however, prescribe various medications, laser therapy and even vitamins or supplements to help slow the progression of the disease. Because early stages of the disease do not cause serious symptoms, seniors are strongly encouraged to have regular eye exams to determine whether AMD is developing.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the eyes optic nerve that typically results from a buildup of pressure inside the eye. In a normal eye, the watery fluid in the eye is able to flow between the cornea and the lens, but if the fluid becomes blocked from flowing, pressure builds, potentially resulting in vision loss or permanent blindness. Early stages may not show symptoms or cause pain, so seniors should have their eyes checked regularly for signs of blockage. Glaucoma may be treated with eye drops, medication or even surgery.

Take Control of Your Eye Health with One of Avila’s Home Care Providers

Sight is one of the most valuable senses we have, and it is important for seniors to have their eyes regularly examined so they may retain optimal vision. The dedicated home care providers at Avila Home Care are available to provide transportation for seniors attending medical appointments of any kind, including eye examinations. If you or a loved one require assistance to help enrich your aging-in-place experience, contact us today!

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