As they often say, our eyes are our windows to the world. But as we get older, those windows seem to start getting dimmer. And this can have a significant impact on how we get around and do the daily activities that we love.
Providers of home health care in California encourage seniors to take better care of their eyes. Let’s take a closer look at how you can do this at home and ensure that you still get to see the wonders of the world even at old age.
How Your Vision Changes With Age
As you age, your eyes gradually start to change. One of the most prominent of these changes is presbyopia. Here, the lenses of your eyes gradually lose their ability to change shape due to hardening. Because of this, you will find it harder to focus on nearby objects.
The symptoms of presbyopia start to appear during your forties. At this point, the condition might be more of an annoyance and will not significantly impact your lifestyle. You can correct it by holding the object you are looking at further away.
However, there will come a time when this will not work. In that case, you will need to use corrective eyeglasses. Depending on the situation, these might be simply reading glasses that you use from time to time. Or you might be prescribed to wear them at all times.
A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s lens. Nearly half 9of adults aged 65 have some form of cataract in their eyes. Before, the condition was considered a significant eye problem. However, with the advancement in eye surgery, dealing with cataracts has become relatively easy. Hence, it is now considered a normal part of the aging process.
Nevertheless, you would still want to deal with cataracts as early as possible. They can cause blurry vision and make it harder for you to see under low light. In turn, this can make it difficult for you to do certain activities.
There are various other changes in your vision throughout your senior years. These include:
- Increased glare: This is due to the changes in your eyes’ lenses, scattering the light more and creating glare.
- Changes in color perception: At some point, you might find it harder to distinguish certain shades of color. That is due to your lenses becoming discolored.
- Reduced tear production: As you age, the tear glands in your eyes start producing fewer tears. That can result in your eyes drying out and being easily irritated.
These changes can lead to some discomfort. Nevertheless, you will be able to compensate for them in various ways.
Eye Diseases In Seniors
There are more serious eye conditions that seniors can face. If left unchecked, these can lead to significant vision loss or even total blindness. Some of the specific ones you need to be aware of are the following.
The macula is the centermost part of the eye, where most of the light is collected. This region allows you to see finer details. As you age, it starts to wear down. Macular degeneration can result when this wear and tear happens to a large portion of the macula.
As a result, you might experience various vision problems, including:
- Blurry vision
- Dark, blurry areas at the center of your eyes\
- Straight lines might start looking crooked.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you might find it hard to do certain everyday activities. As such, you might either need to adjust how you do these things or have someone assist you.
A glaucoma is a group of eye diseases where the optic nerve is damaged. That results in a partial or total loss of vision. Medical experts believe that the damage might be due to a sudden increase in pressure in the eye. The condition usually starts in one eye but will eventually affect the other.
People who might have the disease might often not feel any symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, they might start seeing patch spots in their eyes. They might also experience associated symptoms like headaches. Blindness caused by glaucoma is irreversible.
Diabetes can result in a wide variety of complications. One of these is diabetic retinopathy, which is the progressive damage to the blood vessels in your eyes. This happens because excessive sugar in your blood can block the vessels, eventually causing them to rupture.
Some common signs of diabetic retinopathy are:
- Dark spots or strings around your vision
- Blurry or fluctuating vision
- Empty areas in your vision.
If you already have diabetes, you need to see your doctor yearly for eye examinations. Do this even if your vision is fine to ensure that you catch signs of the disease early and take preventive measures.
How Seniors Can Take Care Of Their Eyes
As weaker vision is a part of your senior years, eye care should be about preventing the above conditions from occurring. Thus, you need to have regular eye checkups as part of your general health routine.
These checkups go beyond just checking if you can see clearly. Doctors will also inspect if you have issues like dilated pupils, which could indicate diabetes or high blood pressure. They will also check if you have leaking tears.
Based on the results, doctors might recommend various treatments. They can also suggest you get prescription glasses or change to a new one if you already have one.
Other Things To Look Into
As you can see, other health conditions can also affect your eyes. Thus, you would want to monitor these regularly, including:
- Blood pressure
- Glucose levels
These are often part of your general checkups already. But you might want to ask your doctor more about them if you worry about potential vision problems.
Living A Healthy Lifestyle
Staying healthy overall helps protect your vision and keep it clear for longer. Here, you would want to start with having the right diet. Include the following food items in your meals.
- Coldwater fish
- Green leafy vegetables
- Citrus fruits and berries
These are rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, lutein, and beta carotene. They help keep your eyes healthy and improve vision.
Unsurprisingly, keeping fit also does a lot for your eyes. In particular, it helps you maintain your weight and reduce blood pressure. Additionally, it helps improve blood circulation. That ensures that your eyes get enough oxygen and that toxins are removed from them.
Along with the above health tips, you should also quit smoking. Tobacco smoke contains various toxins that can harm your general health. This can trigger a variety of eye issues. It has been linked to things like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Give Your Eyes A Rest
Like any part of your body, your eyes can also become tired. Thus, you need to give it enough rest to recover. If you are in front of the TV or computer screen a lot, take a break every 20 minutes. Do that by looking away from the screen for 20 to 30 seconds.
You also need to make sure that you get enough sleep. A good eight hours of sleep will help refresh your eyes. Your room should have the right lighting and ambiance to help you go to sleep faster.