As we age, we often become more conscientious about our health. In part, this may come from the wisdom of growing older, but it can also be because older adults are legitimately at higher risk for certain health concerns.
This is a completely normal part of the aging process, and it’s also important seniors do become more aware of potential health issues such as those related to vision. When seniors and loved ones who care about them learn about common medical issues, they're more likely to catch conditions early and know when to consult their doctors. Vision health is one of the big concerns of aging and affects almost everyone to some degree, so learn more about some common vision health issues for seniors below.
• Presbyopia. This condition affects the ability to see close or small objects, including text when you're reading. It's a natural part of the aging process and generally begins when people are in their late thirties.
• Floaters and flashers. This common phenomenon is not cause for alarm in and of itself, but it can be an indicator of other issues if there’s an abrupt change in the nature of the floaters or flashers. These generally appear as small dots or lines floating in your field of vision.
• Dry eyes (also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Generally, dry eyes are caused by an issue with the tear glands. This condition isn’t necessarily associated with age, and the treatment can be something as simple as special eye drops or a humidifier in some cases.
• Tearing (watery eyes, also called epiphora). The polar opposite of dry eyes, tearing is also caused by issues with the tear glands. It can be a sign of more severe issues, like an eye infection, in some cases.
• Cataracts. These are like foggy patches in your eye. They can sometimes cause blurred vision but are usually painless. Cataracts can often be removed with a relatively simple surgery.
• Glaucoma. This issue can cause damage to the eye and blindness. It usually involves increased pressure in the eye, but there are often no warning signs before the eye is damaged. So it’s important to have your eyes examined by an eye doctor regularly.
As with other health issues, it's best to catch eye issues early. Many conditions can be treated before they cause too much damage if your provider knows about them soon enough. Knowing the signs is important, so here are a view common signs your vision might be worsening.
• Having a hard time seeing things at a distance that others can easily view
• Not being able to read smaller texts or make out what's in smaller images
• Dizziness when changing focal point distance, which is looking from something close to something far away
It’s completely natural for vision to worsen with age. It's typically not something to worry about other than seeing your eye doctor regularly and getting the proper prescription for corrective lenses.
But some changes in vision are not normal and may be signs of a deeper issue.
Usually, vision worsens with age because of wear and tear on your eyes and body. The cornea’s smooth surface becomes less smooth due to small amounts of damage over time, and the lens of the eye can have similar issues. Developing farsightedness or having your existing vision issues worsen over time is also common. These are all natural vision problems that come from age.
These issues are very normal and aren’t typically cause for alarm. However, extreme or sudden symptoms or pain are signs that something is wrong beyond natural aging and should be taken up with a medical professional as soon as possible.
It’s good to consult your doctor about any changes in vision and keep them well informed on what problems you’re experiencing. So many vision issues can be corrected easily, especially if they are caught early, so talking to your doctor about even minor issues might let you avoid more severe problems. But how do you know when you need to see a vision doctor more immediately? Two words answer that question: severity and suddenness. If a symptom is severe enough to impede daily life or comes completely out of nowhere, you should consult a medical professional immediately. Also if you experience a chronic recurring symptom, that’s something to take up with your healthcare provider sooner rather than later.
At Bethesda Gardens, we want our residents to be as healthy as possible. With helpful, professional staff on hand to assist seniors, residents can enjoy peace of mind. An assisted living community holds many benefits for seniors experiencing vision issues because the staff can assist with issues and help vision impaired seniors continue to live as independently as possible.