Senior Eye Issues 101: How to Handle The Most Common Visual Ailments
Unfortunately for seniors, eye issues are an important health concern that senior adults need to worry about as they age. Approximately 3.5 million Americans over the age of 40 face some type of age-related vision loss, and the chances of experiencing this type of vision loss only increase as seniors grow older. Many times, these vision issues are marked by a gradual loss of vision—and it’s something that happens slowly over time. Whether you are a senior or someone who is looking after a senior loved one, the more that you know about potential vision issues, the better.
How to Spot Vision Issues
One of the most difficult things about senior vision issues is that they tend to develop slowly over time and they often don’t come with a number of noticeable symptoms. The best way to determine if a vision issue is in fact forming is to take your loved one in for annual exams.
The Most Common Age-Related Eye Issues
There are four very common eye-related issues that impact seniors. While these aren’t the only vision problems seniors can suffer from, the more you know about these more common ailments, the better.
Cataracts are one of the most common eye issues to impact seniors today. Cataracts form over time and cloud the area of the eye that is supposed to remain clear. The location and size of your cataracts can impact your normal vision. Cataracts typically develop in both eyes, not just one and can cause decreased contrast sensitivity, sensitivity to glares, blurry vision and dull-looking colors.
- Diabetic Retinopathy
This is a common side effect of diabetes, which is why this condition is so common in seniors. This comes from gradual damage to the small blood vessels near the retina. Over time, these vessels will leak fluids and blood into the retinal tissues to swell and cloud your vision. Glucose intake can impact this condition. If not treated, this condition is capable of causing complete vision loss.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
This is a condition that impacts the macula of the eye and can cause central vision loss. It tends to be more common with older adults and can worsen as you age. It can make basic day-to-day activities difficult as it impacts your central vision.
Glaucoma is another common vision issue and it is caused by optic nerve damage from high eye pressure. It can lead to a loss of both sides and peripheral vision and is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. You can find the symptoms of glaucoma early through screening at your eye doctor.
If you are 60 or older, or if you are caring for someone who is, it is extremely important that you are going to the eye doctor regularly for examinations. These exams can help spot the early signs of these common vision issues so that treatment can be applied right away to help slow down or even stop their progression.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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