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Eye Health: 13 Vision Changes Not to Ignore

Nobody should ignore changes in vision, but seniors should be especially vigilant. That’s because even small changes can add up to big consequences if left untreated. It’s important to know that the risk for developing eye diseases increases with age.

August is National Eye Exam Month, a great time to learn or share information about vision care with the older adults in your life. This begins with scheduling an annual eye exam and also includes learning to recognize the signs that something may be wrong.

Vision Symptoms That Require Follow-Up

A few vision issues that should be discussed with an eye doctor include:

  1. Sensitivity to light
  2. Cloudy vision
  3. Lack of tears
  4. Burning or itching
  5. Straining to read
  6. Tearing
  7. Gritty feeling
  8. Twitching eyelids
  9. Pain in the eyelids
  10. Swollen eyelids
  11. Yellow cast to vision field
  12. Trouble telling green from blue

Finally, if you have difficulty distinguishing objects that are placed against a background of the same color, it might mean that medical intervention is needed.

Vision Issues That Might Require Emergency Care

In addition to the potential vision problems outlined above, some eye changes are actually a sign of a serious or life-threatening medical issue. Call 911 or your primary care physician if you or a senior loved one experiences:

  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sudden pain in or behind the eye
  • Uncontrolled eye movement
  • Abrupt loss of vision in one or both eyes

Don’t delay seeking treatment and wait to see if things improve on their own. While it might be something less serious, these symptoms are also linked to strokes and other neurological problems.

4 Vision Issues Common Among Older Adults

Your risk of developing some eye diseases increases with age. These include:

1. Floaters

Floaters can occur as you age and usually don’t pose a serious threat to eye health. The catch is that floaters can also be a sign that a retina is detaching. If you notice what look like particles floating in your vision, call the doctor or go to the emergency room.

2. Cataracts

By the time you reach the age of 80, your risk for developing cataracts climbs to 50%. Cloudy vision, a yellow tint to colors, double vision in one eye, and sensitivity to light are all warning signs of this common vision condition. Fortunately, cataracts can be removed through a routine outpatient procedure.

3. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD progresses slowly over a number of years. That is in sharp contrast to the wet form, which is far more aggressive. Wet AMD can actually result in a senior losing their vision in a matter of weeks. The main symptom of AMD is the loss of central vision. Unfortunately, this symptom is permanent. The progression of the disease can be slowed by laser treatments.

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another eye disease for which risk increases as you age, but family history also plays a role. If it isn’t caught and treated early, glaucoma can result in blindness. Unfortunately, there are no early symptoms of the disease. The main method of detection is a yearly visit to the eye doctor.

Creating Safe Environments for Seniors with Vision Loss

For adults with a vision impairment or vision loss, a safe environment is vital. Brightly lit rooms and night-lights, as well as a home designed to decrease the risk for falls, can all help. Many older adults find a senior living community to be a suitable environment.

At Clearwater Living, you will find thoughtfully designed communities and a team of compassionate caregivers committed to promoting successful aging. We invite you to call the community nearest you to learn more today!

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