Vision Care for Seniors
Vision care for seniors gets more and more important each passing year. Are any of these statements true for you?
- The guide on the television has gotten a little blurry.
- I’ve increased the text size on my phone to the max.
- Driving at night is out of the question.
- I can only read large font books.
- My eyes are extremely dry.
It’s important to schedule an annual visit to the optometrist, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. Early detection is the best way to prevent disease and minimize vision loss.
“In the years after you turn 60,” states the American Optometric Association, “a number of eye diseases may develop that can change your vision permanently. The earlier these problems are detected and treated, the more likely you can retain good vision.”
Common Eye Conditions
Glaucoma – The second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S., glaucoma causes progressive damage to the optic nerve, ultimately resulting in loss of vision. It is most common in people over age 40.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration – AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in those over 50, and results in the loss of central vision. Symptoms include the gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly; distortion of objects and shapes; loss of clear color vision, and a dark or empty area in the center of vision.
Cataracts – A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye that can interfere with vision. They are most common in older adults, and they are the most common cause of blindness. Prevent Blindness America reports that about 24.5 million U.S. adults over 40 have cataracts. Symptoms include blurred or hazy vision, increased difficulty seeing at night, increased sensitivity to glare and reduced intensity of colors.
Blepharitis – This is an inflammation or infection of the eyelid, and it can lead to similar symptoms to dry eye. Symptoms include irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes.
There are several strategies to slow down or prevent vision problems. Maintaining a nutritious diet with ample leafy green vegetables, and keeping blood pressure and diabetes under control, are important for vision care. Additionally, antioxidant supplements and eye health vitamins have benefits for vision care for seniors. The California Optometric Association recommends lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and zinc.
But all sources reinforce that the number one thing to do is get a routine eye exam every year, or sooner if you are experiencing any symptoms.