Aging and Vision: 4 Common Vision Problems Among Seniors
It’s natural for most of our physical functions to decline as we age. When we reach our 60s, our skin thins, our bones weaken, and our bladders become less elastic.
A typical physical change that comes with aging is with your vision. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.2 million Americans over 40 years old have a vision impairment, out of which over 1 million are blind. The number can increase to 8.96 million by 2050.
Although vision deterioration is unavoidable, knowing the risks and warning signs helps in prevention, early intervention, and treatment.
Common Vision Problems Among Older Adults
Adults aged 60 and above often experience these common vision problems:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD happens when the macula, or a part of the retina, is damaged. This leads to loss of central vision, although peripheral vision remains.
Aside from age, the risk factors of AMD include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of AMD
- High-fat diet
- History of high blood pressure
Although there are no usual warning signs that point to an AMD, seeing a doctor for an annual eye screening can help in early detection.
Cataracts cause cloudy vision and difficulty in completing daily tasks. Left untreated, it could severely affect your vision, even leading to blindness.
The risk factors that contribute to cataracts are:
- Family history of cataracts
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury
Fortunately, cataract surgeries are available to restore your vision.
A detached retina occurs when your retina, the thin layer of tissue behind your eyeball, gets torn. This condition causes blurry vision, flashes of lines in your central vision, or shadows in your peripheral vision. If left untreated, a detached retina could lead to permanent blindness.
Risk factors that complicate a detached retina include:
- A detached retina in the other eye
- Family history of a detached retina
- Previous eye injury
Glaucoma is the most leading cause of blindness among adults aged 60 and above. It happens when the optic nerve at the back of your eye is damaged.
Like other types of vision problems, you don’t notice glaucoma until it progresses. The best way to detect it is through an annual eye exam.
Factors that could complicate glaucoma are:
- Eye trauma from a previous surgery
- Family history of glaucoma
- Farsightedness or nearsightedness
Preventing and Managing Vision Problems
Preventing vision problems is as simple as maintaining eye health. An annual checkup with your eye doctor detects the onset of a vision problem. Once the eye doctor knows you might have a potential vision problem, they’ll recommend medication, prescription glasses, and other solutions to prevent and manage the issue.
As you age, though, expect that you won’t be able to do most of your daily activities. In this case, you and your family might ask for additional help, like hiring a caregiver. Alternatively, you might want to consider assisted senior living. That way, you’ll be living with fellow seniors going through more or less the same issues. The supportive staff and facilities also make it easier for you to move around and complete daily tasks.
Having a vision impairment or going blind could be a significant loss. It involves losing your independence because the lack of sight prevents you from doing your daily activities. Learning the common vision problems helps you avoid and manage them at the onset of symptoms.