November 23, 2017
Health & Fitness
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Partnering With Families To Provide Quality Vision Care For Aging Adults

Dr. Samuel Boles - Anne Arundel Eye Center
Dr. Samuel Boles - Anne Arundel Eye Center's picture
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August 23, 2017

As we age, our eyes age right along with us. It’s a natural part of getting older, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. We all fear losing our independence, but there comes a time when we find ourselves relying on another person, often an adult child, to help with day-to-day activities. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a normal part of aging, especially with deteriorating vision.

As the adult child, it can be difficult to care for an aging parent because you are trying to respect that person’s independence while also making sure he or she is getting necessary care. That becomes exponentially harder when you introduce sight loss, as it can create fear, confusion and a high level of anxiety. Education is a key component to successful eye care. It’s vital that both the patient and the adult child, who is the caregiver, now understand the conditions and treatment plan prescribed by the doctor.

Low vision ranks just behind arthritis and heart disease as the third most common chronic cause of impaired functioning in people over 70. Most aging adults who experience low vision are often affected by one of four conditions: glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. While minor, gradual changes in vision can be a natural part of the aging process, sudden or severe changes are often a warning sign of a more pressing issue.

You should be aware of the following symptoms: gradual or sudden vision loss, blurred or hazy vision, double vision, eye pain, seeing flashes of light, eye twitches, halos around lights, discharge from the eye, waviness of vision, changes in the color of the iris or clarity of the cornea, trouble distinguishing faces, or difficulty performing everyday activities, such as reading. If you notice these or anything else that seems out of the norm, like disinterest in activities your loved one used to enjoy, it is important to contact your ophthalmologist, especially if these warning signs are severe and persistent.

Even if no obvious warning signs are present, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends adults over the age of 65 have a complete eye exam every one to two years. Depending on vision health, an ophthalmologist may recommend more frequent visits, especially if one of the aforementioned conditions is present. A person may also need more frequent eye exams if they have certain medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, which may put the person at higher risk for some eye diseases. Sometimes, visits to the ophthalmologist can include the use of eye drops, or other treatments that cause temporary blurry vision, when it is especially important that the patient have a caregiver present.

For more information on this topic or to ask other questions, contact Anne Arundel Eye Center, where the staff is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone. Visit www.annearundeleyecenter.com or call 410-224-2010.


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