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It is natural for your vision to change as you get older. However, if you notice a strong decline in your ability to see or you are experiencing pain in your eyes, you may in fact have an age-related eye health problem.
Some of the most common eye problems that affect older people include presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye. These conditions can have a dramatic effect on a person’s quality of life.
Thankfully, most of these eye conditions can be treated. This article covers common eye problems in the elderly before identifying the ways non-medical home care may be able to help.
Common Types of Eye Problems in the Elderly
The most common vision problems that occur in elderly people including:
This is a loss of the ability to see small print and close objects. This condition is the reason why so many older people are forced to wear prescription glasses for reading. It is caused by a loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye.
Cataracts cause the lens in the eye to gradually become opaque. It prevents images from successfully being processed by the eye. Cataracts gradually appear over time and are extremely common in older people — by 80 years of age, 70% of people have cataracts. They can be removed with surgery.
Glaucoma occurs as a result of excess fluid pressure building up in the eye. In a healthy eye, fluid will move between the cornea and the lens of the eye regularly. When this fluid cannot move freely, pressure gradually increases and the eye may become damaged. Glaucoma can cause blindness if not diagnosed early on, so it is important to have your eyes regularly checked. It is usually treated with medications or surgery.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
This disease affects the macula, which is a part of the retina located at the back of the eye. The macula helps people to see fine details and colors. Having this condition will make it harder to drive a vehicle, watch television and recognize people at a distance. It only affects central vision and your peripheral vision will remain unchanged. This condition affects approximately 11 million people in the United States. There is no cure for macular degeneration, but its progression can be delayed through the use of drugs.
This is a common condition in older people who have diabetes. It is caused by progressive damage to the blood vessels around the retina. The vessels begin to leak fluid into the eye, which causes the person’s visual acuity to decline. This condition can eventually cause blindness, there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, but it can be treated with laser therapy and surgery.
As a person ages, their tear ducts may not be able to lubricate their eyes sufficiently. This can lead to a great deal of eye discomfort, making your eyes itchy, red and irritated. If your eyes are very dry it can reduce the quality of your eyesight and lead to other health complications like eye infections. Treatments for dry eyes include eye drops, using a humidifier and applying tear duct plugs to retain eye moisture levels. In very bad cases, surgery or prescription eye drops may be required.
How Home Care Can Help Elderly People with Eye Problems
Home care services involve trained professionals helping you in your own home. Some of the tasks which can be performed by home care staff include meal preparation, assistance with medications, laundry, general household cleaning, shopping, transportation, cooking and much more.
If you have an eye problem, home care help you in a variety of different ways including:
Assistance using medications
Some of the common eye conditions listed in this article are treated using eye drops and prescription medications. A home care professional can keep track of the medications you are required to take and help you take them. If you are one of those people who struggle to give themselves eye drops, you will find home care very helpful!
Conditions like age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma can interfere with an elderly person’s ability to drive their car. Home care staff can provide transportation service so you can continue enjoying the things you like to do, like visiting friends and going to the shops.
Staying on top of the housework
If your vision has been compromised, you may find it difficult to perform housework. A person with a condition like glaucoma may struggle to clean a bathroom thoroughly or vacuum the carpet. If you want to live in a clean environment but are struggling to perform housework, a home care professional can help you.
Help attending doctor’s appointments
It can be very difficult to make it to a doctor’s appointment if you are suffering from an eye problem. A home care professional can drive you to the appointment and make sure you get there on time.
Ensuring the home is a safe environment
If you are experiencing some difficulty with your vision, you may find it hard to move around your home without bumping into furniture. A home care professional can help make your home a safe environment by setting up additional lighting, removing clutter, ensuring there are no trip hazards and moving furniture so you can easily move around.
They can help you maintain a healthy diet
If you are struggling to see, you may find it hard to prepare meals. In fact, handling knives may become quite dangerous! Home care services can prepare your favorite meals for you, ensuring you are receiving all of the vitamins and minerals you require to get the most out of life!
We hope you enjoyed this article on eye problems in the elderly! If you are interested in learning more about All Heart Home Care, contact us today at 619-736-4677 for a free in-home consultation.