Feb 22, 2018 by Erin Couchell
It is estimated that 30% of American adults develop an eye condition by the time they are 65 years old. To raise awareness about the importance of diagnosing vision problems early on, with the help of both medical professionals and our caregivers, we have created this short guide to the most common issues with vision seniors face.
One of the most widespread eye conditions in aging adults, cataracts can cause poor vision. As a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, its symptoms include blurry vision, fading colors, and trouble seeing clearly in bright light, as well as in the dark. Managing the condition is possible with glasses or lenses, but if it worsens, surgery is often necessary.
As expert caregivers point out, dry eye syndrome is one of the most common vision problems in seniors. While the condition may cause discharge that resembles tears, it is actually a result of the eye’s inability to produce enough tears. Dry eyes can be treated by adding or conserving tears, as well as increasing tear production. In some cases, treating eyelids or eye inflammation can resolve the issue too.
In the case of AMD, the macula or center of the retina is affected. The macula is in charge of central, high-resolution vision, so older adults with this condition may not be able to read, drive or perform any activity that requires straight-ahead vision.
Affecting the optic nerve, glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can even result in blindness. Since it doesn’t have to show any signs once it develops, professional caregivers recommend that seniors check their vision regularly, as glaucoma can be diagnosed with a simple test. Available treatment methods include medications, eye drops, and surgery.
Vision problems that cannot be effectively treated are called low vision. While low vision may lead to decreased independence and confidence, it can be managed with the use of low vision optical devices or with vision training.
To keep their eyes in good health and prevent any additional eye problems, seniors should visit their eye doctor at least once per year, adopt healthy living habits, and ask family or professional caregivers for any advice or assistance.