The Vision of Elderly People: Why It's
When we think about the elderly, many things, come to mind. We might think about all of the wisdom they have gained over the years or the amazing stories they could tell us if we had the time to sit down and listen. But one thing that is often overlooked is their vision.
Sadly, we overlook something as vital as vision seeing that without eyesight, they would not have some (if not all) of the experiences they regale us with. Instead, we find it easier to focus on debilitating diseases like cancer, dementia, stroke, and chronic pain. We forget that preserving vision is the key to a fulfilling life too.
Interestingly, seniors are more susceptible to age-related eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease. And with poor eyesight comes increased risks for falls, social isolation, and reduced quality of life.
This is why we should not take their vision for granted. Based on that understanding, this blog post will discuss why the vision of older adults matters and how you can help keep their sight healthy for as long as possible.
Why Elderly People Have Issues With Their Vision
As a caregiver looking to help older adults lead better lives, it is important to know why older folks are particularly susceptible to poor vision. The thing is, as we age, our bodies start to change. Most times, they begin to weaken. It is obvious that we might not be able to run as fast as we used to or lift as much weight as we used to when we were younger. More evidence is that our skin wrinkles and our hair go gray.
Yet one of the most significant changes that happen to us as we age is the deterioration of our vision. So it is only natural that seniors need to have their vision well taken care of at this point in their lives. Extra care is needed to ensure that their vision is good enough to enjoy all that life offers.
Now that that’s out of the way, why does the vision of seniors deteriorate over time? If you would like to know, we have several reasons why this happens.
Read on to find out what they are.
One reason is that the lenses in our eyes begin to harden and yellow with age. This makes it more difficult for us to see clearly. Cataracts are essentially structural changes in the eye's crystalline lens. Our eyes are made of proteins, and they are designed so that they allow the free passage of light through them. Sadly, as we grow older, proteins in the eye change.
The lens is made of proteins, which are evenly spaced to allow light to pass through. As you age, the proteins in the lens restructure, leaving less space between them. Unfortunately, the lenses also begin to harden, and yellow, which leads to difficulty in seeing as the vision becomes cloudier, and colors become a whole less vibrant. But it doesn’t end there.
The proteins in the lenses continue to change shape until they become too opaque to let light in. Unfortunately, this situation often leads to virtual blindness.
This explains why cataracts are seen as the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The good news is that the condition can easily be reversed with relatively simple eye surgery.
This eye condition is one of the complications that come with diabetes. It results from the retina not getting enough blood from the small blood vessels. At the beginning of this disease, the blood vessels might leak fluid and can cause blurred vision. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all.
But as the condition deteriorates, floaters, blind spots, or cloudiness of vision might start occurring. In addition, after a while, new blood vessels may grow and bleed into the eye, and this can cause serious vision loss or blindness.
The condition is not terminal, as drug injections and laser treatments can be used to salvage the situation. However, the best way to handle diabetic retinopathy is to eliminate the risk of its occurrence with effective blood sugar control.
Our retina - the part of our eye that processes images - can start to deteriorate, leading to a condition called age-related macular degeneration. The back of the eyeball is covered with the retina, a complex system of tissues. The macula is right in the middle of the retina. The macula is especially light-sensitive and is why we can see details like numbers, letters, and facial features because it deals with distance
vision. If it degenerates over time it can lead to a loss of vision in the central area. Most times, the symptoms of this ailment go unnoticed until loss of vision sets in.
Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure inside the eye and, when left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness. It is often caused by injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blockage of blood vessels, inflammatory disorders of the eye, and sometimes by failed eye surgery. There are no early symptoms or pain associated with glaucoma. Treatment for glaucoma often includes prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or surgery.
How To Keep The Vision of Seniors in Good Condition
Together, all of these factors can lead to a significant decline in vision as we get older. In fact, according to the National Eye Institute, half of all Americans over the age of 65 have some form of vision impairment. This is why it is so important for us to care for our elderly loved one's vision.
There are several ways to help keep your elderly loved ones' vision healthy.
Regular Eye Checks
The most important thing is to make sure they get regular eye exams at least (every 1-2 years). It is important to have an optometrist check their eyes for common problems associated with aging, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition, an optometrist will check for health issues and see if the seniors need a change in medication.
As a caregiver responsible for the senior's well-being, you should also make sure they are eating a healthy diet, as this can help improve their vision. Here are some suggestions :
- Get them to eat colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, kale, pecans, grapefruit, papaya, almonds, oranges, and tangerines; they contain Lutein, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zeaxanthin, which are good for your eyes.
- Find ways to include essential fatty acids such as fish, eggs, and whole-grain foods into their diets.
- Get some lean red meat, beans, and whole grains into their diets as all have significant amounts of the mineral Zinc, which is needed for good eye health.
Implement Lifestyle Changes
You should also like encourage them to stay active, as exercise can help improve blood flow to the eyes and reduce the risk of vision problems.
Get them to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays outside, so sunglasses are a must. Also, get them to take a break while reading as the breaks will reduce strains on the eyes.
It is also important to check their blood pressure because high blood pressure is bad for the blood vessels in the eyes.
Vision loss is bad for the overall health, well-being, and quality of life of seniors who are more susceptible to age-related eye conditions. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your elderly loved ones have a healthy vision for years to come. So don't take their vision for granted - it's more important than you might think. Thanks for reading!