Three out of every five seniors 65 and older have some type of vision problem, according to American Family Physician. This doesn’t automatically mean your aging loved one will have eye-related issues. However, knowing more about common vision problems in seniors can give you a better idea of what to pay attention to when caring for your loved one.
Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that affects the optic nerve. It typically develops due to fluid buildup in the front portion of the eye and has the potential to result in vision loss and blindness. The most effective form of prevention for glaucoma is regular eye exams, since there are often no noticeable symptoms when this disease first develops.
Treatment/management usually involves:
- Prescription eye drops
- Oral medication
- Laser surgery
- A procedure called a trabeculectomy, which creates a new drainage pathway in the eye
Seniors with vision impairment may need assistance to be able to continue living safely at home. For many seniors in Tucson, AZ, 24-hour care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
Johns Hopkins Medicine notes cataracts may first appear when individuals are in their 40s or 50s, but vision isn’t usually affected until later in life. For this reason, many seniors end up having surgery to remove cloudy lenses in their eyes. With cataracts, vision normally becomes progressively worse. If your loved one has cataracts, he or she may have blurred or double vision or notice halos around lights.
Cataracts aren’t always preventable, although it can be helpful to encourage seniors to protect their eyes from the sun, stop smoking, and have regular eye exams if they have a family history of cataracts. Treatment/management options include:
- Wearing anti-glare sunglasses
- Getting new prescription eyeglasses or contacts
- Having surgery if vision is significantly affected
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of permanent vision loss in adults 60 and over, affects a part of the retina called the macula. Complete blindness rarely results from AMD, but the disease can interfere with vision enough to affect daily functioning. Risk factors include a family history of AMD, high blood pressure, and smoking. Treatment usually involves FDA-approved medications such as Lucentis, light-sensitive drugs to target affected cells (photo-dynamic laser therapy), or aids for low vision.
If your loved one is living with vision loss and needs assistance with daily tasks, help is available. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care services. Tucson families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
This condition, which affects seniors with chronic diabetes, causes abnormal changes in blood vessels in the eyes. The damaged blood vessels break, bleed, and heal in a way that causes the retina to become detached. Seeing dark shadows that appear to float is a common sign of diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms also include partial vision loss and distorted vision.
Preventive measures include keeping blood pressure levels normal, controlling diabetes, and having regular eye exams. Diabetic retinopathy isn’t curable, although some seniors benefit from laser surgery if it’s performed before the retina is severely damaged.
Basic Eye Care
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eye exams every 1–2 years for adults 65 and over to check for common vision problems. In addition, your loved one can minimize the risk of age-related eye issues by:
• Eating green leafy veggies and other foods rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C
• Wearing sunglasses when outdoors on sunny days
• Getting an eye evaluation if an eye injury occurs
• Wearing glasses with protective lenses to minimize glare
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (520) 214-5440 to learn about the high quality of our in-home senior care.