The face of your newborn child. The ocean at sunset. Spectacular Fourth of July fireworks. The smiling eyes of your life partner. These can all be centerpieces of amazing, lifelong memories – if you are fortunate enough to enjoy healthy eyes and sight.
In the 2012 annual National Health Interview Survey conducted by the CDC, 20.6 million Americans reported experiencing significant vision loss. Of those, 5.3 million were age 65 and over. Those numbers have most certainly grown since.
It is commonly tolerated that our vision typically begins to deteriorate as we approach our forties. But it is important not to mistake nature’s way for some other, potentially dangerous origins of elderly vision loss that, when diagnosed early on, can have a high rate of successful treatment.
Although glaucoma can affect anyone, the elderly are more at risk than any other population. There is not yet a cure, so any vision loss suffered from it is permanent. It occurs when pressure on the eye leads to nerve damage. Left undiagnosed and untreated, blindness can occur. The Glaucoma Research Foundation reasons that besides being the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma also poses the threat of sometimes being undetectable at first. Of the over three million Americans with the disease, it is estimated that only half of them are aware of it.
Primarily related to aging, cataracts are cloudiness on the eye lens. While people in their forties and fifties do get them, the National Eye Institute reports that vision loss from cataracts mainly affects those over 60.
This is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60. The macula lies near the center of the retina. There are two kinds of degeneration: one caused by deposit buildup, and the other by an abnormal growth of blood vessels. According to WebMD, the most common symptoms include center-of-vision blurriness or darkness, and diminished color perception.
This, simply put, is damage to the retinal blood vessels. At its worst, it can lead to blindness, but when detected early, it is highly treatable. The only problem is – like glaucoma – it is notoriously undetectable in its early stages. As evident in its name, those with diabetes are at risk. Statistically, older adults generally tend to go undiagnosed with diabetes for longer than others. So just make sure your elderly loved one never misses their annual checkup.
With all these potential threats to our elderly loved ones’ eyesight, it’s best to follow the National Eye Institute’s recommendation that all adults over 60 receive a comprehensive dilated eye examination every two years. This can definitely increase the chances of early detection and reduce the risk of vision loss, while helping you and your parents enjoy many more memories of each other’s smiles.
If you are considering elder care options, we can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one. Be it at home or in a community, we conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and every day.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy