Vision loss becomes increasingly common due to aging seen by the number of elderly who require aid from spectacles and the like. However, there are a surprisingly large number of other issues involving sight that become increasingly prevalent in those over 65. Some risk factors can be avoided and learning what causes vision loss is important to the health of your loved ones. Being able to look out for the signs of potential difficulties is key to prevention and early intervention can drastically help treatment. We have compiled some of the main causes of vision loss in seniors for you below.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
First and foremost is age-related macular degeneration, also commonly known as AMD. This occurs when the area of the retina known as the macula is harmed leaving the peripheral vision intact but greatly impeding central vision. The only way to identify potential symptoms of AMD is through exams and screenings by a medical professional annually, which is why it is very important to regularly visit your doctor for check-ups! Aside from age, AMD is also more common in individuals over 65 who are overweight, have a high-fat diet, smoke, or have a history of high blood pressure. If your loved one falls into one or more of these categories, do encourage them to go for an eye check-up soon.
Another common cause of vision loss in older adults is cataracts whose symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision. This can impact your loved one’s quality of life as daily activities are made more complicated. Simple day-to-day tasks or leisurely activities like reading or watching television become harder. If left untreated, cataracts can worsen and even lead to complete vision loss. Aside from age, some risk factors that cause cataracts include prior eye injuries, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Thankfully, in recent years, cataract surgery has become an effective procedure with high success rates.
Finally, glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness in older adults that is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This results in symptoms that cannot be detected until the disease is fairly advanced. Hence, the best way to detect glaucoma is through regular eye check-ups with a doctor. If your family has a history of glaucoma, if you are very near or farsighted, or if you have experienced prior eye trauma you are at higher risk of developing glaucoma and should take precautions.
If your loved one is struggling with vision loss and is unable to remain independent, one solution is moving into an assisted living community where there are team members who are well trained in handling those suffering from vision impairment. There are also numerous amenities and services that help improve your loved one’s quality of life. At home, many elderly with vision problems are at risk of falling and injuring themselves. On the contrary, the surrounding environment at assisted living communities is clutter-free and non-hazardous meaning they are less likely to trip and fall. On top of this, the environment is soothing and promotes relaxation which decreases stress and improves their overall wellbeing.