Healthy Vision Month
May is Healthy Vision Month, a national eye health observance established by the National Eye Institute in May of 2003. It was created in order to bring attention to the fact that millions of Americans have undiagnosed eye problems. There are several diseases that affect those over the age of 60. In most cases there are little to no warning signs and once damage is done to the eyes it cannot be undone. For this reason, it’s imperative that your aging parent get a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. The four leading eye diseases that affect older Americans are as follows:
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among those who are 50 or older. It is the result of degeneration of the macula, a small area in the center of the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. One of the first symptoms is blurry vision. Changes in one’s lifestyle can help deter this eye disease as well as slow down its progression should it occur. This includes stop smoking, regular exercise, and a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens and berries, as well as fish.
A cataract is the result of protein building up on the lens of the eye. It is very common in older people with more than half of Americans over the age of 80 either having had cataract surgery or have a cataract. Surgery is often recommended and has a high success rate.
This eye disease is a result of damage done to the small capillaries of the eye due to the increased blood sugar levels of diabetes. It results in cloudy vision that can lead to blindness if left unchecked.
Glaucoma is a disease that is often caused by a fluid build-up in the eye which causes increasing pressure and ultimately damages the optic nerve. It results in the loss of peripheral or side vision and is the leading cause of blindness for those over the age of 60.
Early detection in all of these eye diseases can limit damage and prevent further deterioration. The only way these can be detected in their early stage is through a comprehensive eye exam.
Senior Care Provider
If your loved one has difficulty performing the everyday tasks of living due to vision loss, consider obtaining the services of a senior care provider. They can provide assistance with daily activities, prepare eye-healthy meals and accompany your parent on walks and to social events, making sure they experience the care and companionship they require to age in place and lead a balanced life.