Like other body systems, the eyes are susceptible to the effects of the aging process. Statistics indicate up to a third of older adults live with one or more types of visual impairment. In many cases, early detection and treatment can prevent conditions from progressing to blindness. Thus, older adults need visual exams at least annually. Reducing risk factors can also prevent the following common vision problems.
Within the eyes are circular muscles that alter the shape of the lenses to provide clear focus at any given distance. However, at about age 40, the lenses begin thickening, which causes inflexibility. Over time, the condition progresses. Older adults notice they must hold text at arm’s length for their eyes to focus enough to read the written words. The issue can be easily resolved with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Presbyopia progresses more quickly in seniors with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis. Antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretic medications also contribute to the condition.
Cataracts cause a gradual clouding of the lenses that interferes with light and images passing into the eye and reaching the retina. Correcting the problem requires surgical removal of the affected lens and replacing it with a synthetic lens. Risk factors associated with cataract development include diabetes, alcohol abuse, and smoking. Exposing the eyes to direct sunlight may also lead to cataract formation.
Seniors with vision impairment may need assistance to be able to continue living at home. For many seniors in Portland, ME, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
Normally, fluid flows freely between the cornea and the lens. However, in seniors with glaucoma, a blockage causes the fluid to build up and increase internal eye pressure. Permanent vision loss may occur if the condition isn’t diagnosed and treated with appropriate medications. Seniors with family histories of glaucoma are at higher risk, and the condition is more common among African Americans over 40, people over 60, and individuals of Mexican American descent.
If your loved one is living with vision loss and needs assistance with daily tasks, help is available. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Portland families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. The disease develops in the macula and causes blurring in the central visual field. The dry form of the disorder is the most common, while the wet form is rarer. Both types require early detection and treatment to prevent their progression. Preventable risk factors include hypertension, high cholesterol, inadequate blood sugar control, and smoking.
Chronically high blood sugar damages blood vessels throughout the body, and the delicate vessels around the retina are particularly susceptible to damage. Elevated blood sugar levels cause the vessels to break down and hemorrhage, and the eyes then develop new vessels. However, the new formations are even more fragile, which leads to more bleeding. Laser surgery is necessary to cauterize the affected vessels and stop the hemorrhaging. Anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatments prevent new vessels from forming and may boost vision. Preventing the disorder requires routine blood sugar monitoring and treatment if necessary.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional elderly home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (207) 835-4849 today.