As we age, vision impairment is one of the most common physical losses. Many eye conditions that cause sight loss and blindness are insidious and aren’t diagnosed until extreme measures are necessary.


Vigilance about your senior’s eyesight is important to catch conditions early for easier and more reliable treatment. Some of the more common eye conditions that may affect your loved one are macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.


Macular degeneration

is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans. Most people affected have had good vision throughout their lives so the usual predictors may be absent. Regular vision exams with dilation are important for catching this early. Unfortunately, it is considered incurable, so the best hope is management of and stemming the progression.


Macular degeneration contributes to vision loss but doesn’t cause complete blindness. Many people are more afraid of going blind than seeing less clearly and it’s helpful to be able to ease your loved one’s fears about this.


Because there is a genetic component, family members who feel at risk can consider a more foodbased approach by eating foods containing high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, such as egg yolks, yellow corn, orange and yellow peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, grapes, peas, green beans, apples, mango, scallions, orange juice, and various squashes. Smokers and those with hypertension or high cholesterol are at an increased risk of macular degeneration.

Source: Macular.org and Bright Focus


Senior woman in glasses sitting at the table at home and watching photos or video on tablet computer


Glaucoma

is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. More than 3 million people in the US have glaucoma. Many are unaware of it, as in the early stages there may be no symptoms. Damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye.

Source: Mayo Clinic


Glaucoma has multiple types. The two most common are referred to as open-angle and angle-closure.


Open-angle glaucoma

progresses more slowly and has very few initial symptoms. It is the most prevalent, affecting 70-90% of individuals.


Angle-closure glaucoma

is largely an inherited condition so knowing your senior’s family history is helpful. It can have a fast onset and is very painful. It is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately as blindness can set in as quickly as one to two days.


Common factors for all types of glaucoma include family history, increasing age, nearsightedness, hypertension, and diabetes.

Source: American Family Physician and Bright Focus


Cataracts

are the most common cause of blindness worldwide. It’s the easiest to see since it often causes a cloud on the pupil that is visible to others as it progresses.


Some other symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Hazy vision that may be worse in bright light
  • Weaker night vision
  • Uncomfortable glare from vehicle headlights or bright sunlight
  • A need for brighter light for reading
  • Colors look faded or yellow

Cataracts are more prevalent in our elderly population with a prevalence of approximately 50 percent in those 75 and older, compared to less than 5 percent in persons under age 65. Cataract surgery is the most common Medicare-covered surgery.

Source: American Family Physician and WebMD


While these are three potential causes of vision loss and eye pain for your senior, they are not the only ones. It is important to include regular eye exams in your senior’s healthcare lineup.


Whether you are looking for a reliable nurse for different medical services, or a professional aide for personal care services, Gulfshore Home Care is here to help.  Because every client’s needs and lifestyle are different, our in-home care team will provide services specifically based on your loved one’s condition and circumstances.


We are located in the areas of Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, and Marco Island.  Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 239-249-8318


With our home health care services you will be able to live a happy, safe, and independent life. We invite you read more about us.   Every situation is unique, so to have all of your specific questions answered with personalized information from a friendly local home care expert, call 239-249-8318 now!