Glaucoma, dry eye and vision loss are three more common eye problems that affect seniors. It’s important to detect and treat these problems. If you neglect them, you run the risk of partial or complete vision loss. In fact, research shows that 65% of people with visual impairment and 82% of those who are blind are over 50 years old.
Glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. Anyone can get glaucoma, but African Americans over the age of 40 and anyone over the age of 60 has a higher risk of developing the disease. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve. This nerve is responsible for transmitting information from the eye to the brain. When the pressure inside the eye becomes higher than normal, you lose your peripheral vision. You also have trouble seeing in dim light.
It is very important to diagnose glaucoma. Early treatment can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. Treatment involves reducing the amount of fluid produced by the eye or increasing the amount of fluid that drains from the eye.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome happens when there’s a chronic lack of sufficient moisture on the eye’s surface. In a healthy eye, your tears are continuously bathing your cornea. Tears are a complex mixture of fatty oils, water, mucus, and more than 1500 different proteins. Sometimes the eye doesn’t produce tears properly. At other times, the tears aren’t the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Women have a higher prevalence of dry eye compared with men. You need tears to keep the surface of the eye smooth and protected from the environment. Dry eyes are uncomfortable eyes. If you have dry eye syndrome, you’ll most likely feel that your eyes are sore, burning and filled with grit. You may have watery eyes due to excessive tearing and your vision may be blurred. If your eyes are dry, you’ll struggle with detail work like using a computer and reading.
There are several treatment options. These include eye drops to provide relief, medications to reduce inflammation, dietary changes and lid hygiene.
Low vision is one of the most common eye problems that affects seniors. You may find that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, everyday tasks are difficult to do. Low vision comes from macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetes, and glaucoma. Eye injuries and birth defects are some other causes. If you have low vision, you’ll have trouble reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing.
You can’t restore low vision. But you can manage it with proper treatment and vision rehabilitation. You can use magnifiers on your glasses, or use a handheld magnifier. You can also use a bioptic telescope. Some people enjoy using software with text-to-speech and magnification features.
Don’t believe that vision loss is simply part of the aging process. Make sure that you take the right steps to keep your eyes healthy and enjoy the view in your golden years.