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Early Detection is the Key to Saving Senior Eyes
I think of each of the retirees who have a wonderful Westminster Village lifestyle in a new home with lots of amenities. There is no way that they want to let problems with their eyes, visual impairment or blindness take all that away from them if there are ways to combat it. Active adults don’t have to miss anything of this big world if they take early precautions.
Age brings visual changes for seniors
Teresa Thompson, Costco Pharmacy Buyer, writes that “by 2032, the visually impaired population, age 40 and over, will increase by possibly 66 percent or 5.1 million. The blind population of the same age will increase by 59 percent or 2.2 million.” Early detection for vision challenges could reduce the risk of having more serious vision problems develop as you age.
The National Eye Institute identifies the following age-related eye diseases:
- Macular degeneration gradually destroys sharp, central vision needed for driving and reading.
- Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye.
- Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes and causes blindness.
- Glaucoma is defined as a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve.
- Dry eye means that you cannot produce tears.
- Low vision; even with glasses, contacts, medicine or surgery, everyday tasks are difficult.
Floaters or dark spots that float across your eyes are usually normal for aging eyes, but they can also warn of more serious issues with eyesight. Conjunctivitis happens when the tissue covering your eye gets inflamed. You can also have corneal disease, and eyelid problems. Sounds daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with the goal of early detection.
“People with diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), or who are taking medications that have eye-related side effects, are at greatest risk for developing vision problems,” according to the American Optometric Association. That means they should be extra diligent.
Early detection can save an active adult’s eyesight
Everyone over the age of 40 experience some changes in their eyes, but regular exams are essential for good eye health. After the age of 50 especially, everyone should have a yearly exam with dilation. Dilation of your eyes sometimes feels strange, but a dilated exam can detect eye diseases before any loss occurs.
According to the National Eye Institute, “many eye diseases have no early warning signs or symptoms.” Make an annual eye appointment with your eye doctor each year. Make it at the same time during the year perhaps around an anniversary or date that will help you remember it.
Authors Marilyn Haddrill and Gary Heiting, OD, advise in their article, 10 Warning Signs of Age-Related Eye Problems that if you experience any of the following eye symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately.
- A flood of spots and floaters in your field of vision.
- A sensation that a dark curtain has settled across your field of view.
- Double vision, double images or “ghost” images.
- Suddenblurry vision in one eye.
- A narrowing of your field of view.
- Cloudy and blurred eyesight,”halos” around lights at night, loss of bright color vision.
- Blind spots in your field of view,accompanied by eye floaters and unexplained blurred vision.
- “Scratchy” or irritated sensation,eye surface pain, or tearing.
Age-related eye problems could stop you from enjoying your lives. You want to continue to have an independent lifestyle for as long as you can. You want to enjoy the activities that interest you, long, conversational dinners and fun. Early detection could mean that you will be able to see this big world of wonderful landscapes, opportunities and loved ones for a long, long time.
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team