It is a common affliction brought on by aging for the five senses to gradually diminish in seniors. Eyesight is one of the most prevalent bodily functions to deteriorate in elder years, and it can be a very distressing and alarming issue. Just under 7 million senior Americans over the age of 65 have developed severe vision impairment.
Understanding the different vision disorders brought on by age may help seniors recognize problems and seek available treatments more quickly before serious vision damage is done.
The three primary vision disorders in seniors are
- Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
These terrible eye conditions often go undiagnosed and unnoticed for long periods of time because they progress very gradually. These conditions frequently go undetected until serious damage has been done and it become more difficult to treat effectively. Older adults may be wise to schedule moderately routine eye exams, understanding that they as seniors are more susceptible to these disorders.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – this eye condition slowly damages the retina, leaving peripheral vision mostly intact, but alarmingly making anything you try to directly focus on blur and disappear. The safety risks of AMD are obvious, as reading, facial recognition, and navigating spaces are severely hampered with this type of vision loss.
AMD is not currently curable, however, medications are available to slow down its progression considerably. Fortunately, AMD is not physically painful to the body or eyes, nor does it damage or effect any other bodily functions. Seniors developing AMD often seek care in assisted living facilities for help with certain daily tasks.
Glaucoma – Symptoms of glaucoma include increased pressure in the eye cavity, causing nerve damage, vision impairment, and even pain in the eye. Glaucoma educes tunnel vision in seniors .
Treatments for glaucoma are surgical as well as pharmaceutical, able to slow the progression of the degeneration and reduce pain, however there is no cure for the disorder. Glaucoma is exceedingly prominent in seniors over the age of 70, so vision checks are recommended for seniors in their later years to detect and hinder the progression of this disorder which can also dramatically effect a senior’s ability to live independently and safely.
Cataracts – This disorder clouds the lens of the eye by clumping naturally occurring proteins in the eye. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness in the world. Men and women of all ages can develop cataracts, however cataracts are most prevalent for senior vision loss.
Cataracts are relatively easily detected through basic eye inspections. This eye disorder is characterized by blurred vision and fading of color comprehension. Although cataracts do not cause pain, they are capable of deteriorating vision to the point of total blindness, hindering independent living for senior citizens. Cataracts may be treated with drops and these eye clumps may be removed with surgery.
The causes of these eye disorders are not fully known, however, they are generally able to be detected and slowed in their progression. It is important for seniors to be aware of their higher proneness for developing vision impairment and to schedule semi-regular eye inspections in their later years to ensure prolonged independent living and quality of life.