AMONG THE MANY changes our bodies undergo as we get older are the changes to our eyesight. This is something to be on the watch for with older relatives entering into senior care communities such as Avista Senior Living Magnolia near El Cerrito, CA.
Early diagnosis is critical for stopping many sight-threatening conditions in their tracks, which is why we should be on the lookout for signs of age-related vision loss. There are also more benign ways our eyesight can change over the years, and it’s important to know about those too!
The Main Age-Related Vision Changes
A few of the most common changes that can happen to our vision with age include:
- Changes to color perception: the older we get, the more colors may grow dull or yellowish.
- Reduced tear production: our eyes produce fewer tears as we age, which can result in symptoms of dry eye. We need tears to maintain clear vision and maintain eye health, so this can be quite an inconvenience.
- Requiring more light to see: we begin to need more light to see clearly as we get older. This is a big reason why your older relatives tend to become increasingly averse to driving at night.
- Presbyopia: the vast majority of adults over age 45 begin to struggle with close vision as the lenses in their eyes become less flexible. This is why reading glasses, bifocals, and transition lenses are staples of the older decades. Most residents in a senior care community will need these types of reading aids.
- Increased sensitivity to glare: this can be a serious problem while driving, but wearing polarized lenses will block the glare.
Seniors undergoing these kinds of vision changes are much safer when they aren’t behind the wheel. This is why one of the services we offer in our senior care assisted living community is transportation.
More Serious Sight-Threatening Eye Conditions
Any of the above issues can be frustrating and inconvenient for your older loved one, even if there are ways to effectively address them, but there are several sight-threatening conditions for which advancing age is a major risk factor:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal detachment
Advances in medicine and technology have made it easier to treat or slow the progress of these conditions, and future innovations will only improve prognoses in the coming years. Early diagnosis is currently the best way to ensure a favorable prognosis, so make sure to keep up with your regular eye exams as you get older, and encourage your older relatives to do the same. They will likely need more frequent eye exams to be sure none of these conditions is beginning to take hold.
How to Help Your Eyes Stay Healthy in Senior Care
In addition to the regular eye exams, there’s a lot an individual can do make sure their older relative is protecting their eyesight. No matter what season it is, they can wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside to protect against the cumulative damage of UV exposure. Encourage them to maintain an active lifestyle, which means regular exercise, a diet full of healthy foods, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking.
Exercise for seniors doesn’t have to mean power-lifting and running marathons; more likely it will be regular stretching and walking. Healthy lifestyle changes can reduce eye disease risk factors, and they also bring with them the other benefits that come with a healthy lifestyle! Your loved one will be able to enjoy their time in a senior living community much better.
One more easy tip everyone should follow that will help in the short term for those who happen to spend a large portion of their day looking at screens is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screentime, take a little break to focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help combat the effects of eye strain.
Your Lifelong Vision Health Is Our Goal!
The importance of yearly eye exams — for patients over 40 in particular — cannot be overstated. If it’s been longer than that since your optometrist or ophthalmologist last saw your parent or grandparent, now’s a great time to help them schedule their next appointment! If you want to learn more about Avisa Senior Living Magnolia and its convenient location near El Cerrito, you can check out our business page.