Vision Loss in Seniors: What Every Older Adult Should Know
There are many seniors today who assume that declining vision is simply part of the normal aging process. However, it isn’t so simple, and vision loss is actually a lot more complex than just simply losing your vision as you grow older.
Here’s what every senior should know about vision loss.
- Typically, vision loss starts around the age of 40. Most people, even those with “perfect” vision will start to see changes and start to develop presbyopia or far-sightedness.
- Far-sightedness tends to develop in mid-life and can get worse with age. Most seniors will notice they are unable to read menus or letters without holding them farther away.
- Far-sightedness is not a cause for medical concern, but seniors should still be visiting the eye doctor annually to get their vision checked and to make sure that they are not experiencing any eye-related diseases.
- Glaucoma is one of the more common eye-related diseases that impact senior adults and is one that seniors should get tested for every year. Glaucoma involves too much intraocular pressure inside the eye, which typically comes from too much fluid. This pressure can damage the optic nerve or lead to blindness. It tends to develop slowly—and those with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing this disease.
- Cataracts are another common eye-related disease that can impact seniors. Characterized by “clouded” lenses, cataracts are comprised of broken-down lens tissue. About 70 percent of white Americans age 80 and older have cataracts. About 50-60 percent of black and Hispanic Americans have lost their vision to this condition.
In addition to being aware of some of the more common conditions to impact senior vision, it is also important for seniors to know what they can do in order to maintain their vision as they age. Here are a few easy tips to help prevent vision loss.
- Wear high-quality sunglasses when outdoors.
- Wide-brim hats can shield eyes from radiation that sunglasses can’t block.
- Use face-safe sunglasses around the eyes to help prevent vision loss.
- Computer screens and LED lights on digital devices can contribute to retinal degeneration—so using screen filters can help prevent vision loss.
Seniors should keep these tips in mind as they continue to do their best to maintain their vision.
The best way for any senior to stay on top of their ocular health is to make sure they are getting their eyes checked annually and to make certain they are staying on top of any changes in their vision.
- 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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