Guide To Eye Care In Elderly
Many physical changes come as we age. And for vision to change as we get older is quite normal. Though problems in eyesight can occur at any age. However, once you have crossed your 60’s, you will notice changes in your vision that might even affect your routine work. For most eye diseases and weaknesses, the risk rate increases over 70 years or over 80 years old. However, many of the eye conditions that arise due to old age are considered to be normal by most medical professionals. With age, the risk for some sight-threatening eye conditions increases, which is why it is important to be informed and to have regular eye check-ups. With good eye care in elderly ages, you can limit the impact these vision changes have on your daily life.
Eye disease and visual impairment may lead to social and functional decline. The conditions, in more severe cases, may also result in depression, falls, nursing home placement, and increased mortality.
While everyone considers the loss of vision is normal but, the risk rate continues to increase with age. Especially, if you are already suffering from certain health conditions or eye conditions. But if you know what to expect from your eyes as you age, how to keep them healthy, and when to reach out to Eye Hospital Delhi, you can protect your vision for longer.
Why Is Eye Care Necessary For The Elderly?
Changes in vision and eyesight occur as you get older, but these changes don’t have to affect your lifestyle. This is why it is important to have your eyes examined thoroughly by an eye doctor, regularly. For conditions such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration, etc. Knowing what to expect and when to reach out for professional care can help you safeguard your vision.
With age comes high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. These, in turn, increase the risk of age-related eye diseases. Further, as we get older, poor eyesight can lead to distress, and anxiety – such as the fear of falling. Old age brings changes in gait, loss of balance, and restricted mobility. Whereas, at this stage of life, staying active gets more important to maintain health and quality of life.
Even if your eyesight may seem good as of now, you should still go for eye examinations after every 3 years, because some diseases do not have any symptoms. They affect the eyes very slowly. So, by the time, you start noticing the changes, it may be too late to repair the damage. Fortunately, early treatment can stop, and sometimes even reverse, most of the vision loss caused by the following conditions that are most commonly seen in seniors.
Many times, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including some regular exercise in your daily schedule, good nutrition, regular check-ups, and taking eye vitamins as may be prescribed, may prevent or reduce most of these conditions. That is why proper eye care for the elderly is advised.
The good news is that most people may just need new spectacles, contact lenses, or better lighting. Still, as the saying goes, prevention is always better than the cure and is the best medicine for keeping debilitating eye conditions away.
Eye diseases that come with age
The eye contains a lens that focuses light on the retina so that we can see. With normal ageing, the lens turns blurred and cloudy. This is called Cataract. Most cataracts occur due to ageing. But, sometimes, they can be caused by injury or other medical conditions.
The only treatment available is performing Cataract surgery to remove the clouded lens. The surgery is performed with local anesthesia. So you are awake and able to see but do not feel anything in or near your eyes. The eye surgeon will make a very tiny opening in the front of the eye, and remove the cloudy lens. And replace it with a new clear plastic lens.
Cataract Surgery is the most frequently, as well as successfully, performed operation, for eye care for the elderly, all over the world.
75% of those over 65 experience dryness of eyes to some degree. It may be due to the reduced production of tears. With tears, the health of the front surface of the eye is maintained and so there is clarity in the vision. Dry eye is not only common but also a chronic problem. Dry eyes condition will get worsened by smoking, drinking coffee, menopausal changes, computer use, dehydration, overuse of sugar, and allergies. It could even be a symptom of a larger problem like diabetes or auto-immune diseases.
If it is a temporary problem, artificial tears may be prescribed. But the artificial tear may worsen the problem, in some cases.
It is also called Age-Related Focus Dysfunction. Under it, the objects under close vision or nearby seems blurry, so it gets difficult to do any kind of fine work and reading. Blurred vision is because the proteins form and thicken under the lens. The lens, thereby, becomes less flexible. Muscles surrounding the lens also change with age.
The process of Presbyopia almost always starts in your 40’s. Your eyes start having trouble reading the small print, and while focusing on objects close up. It may also be accompanied by headaches & eye strain.
Your ophthalmologist at the Eye Hospital Delhi will diagnose presbyopia, and recommend eyeglasses or contact lenses, at first. They will help you deal with reading, and near work, and maintain good eye care in the elderly age.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) and Floaters
You may be seeing floaters and light flashes. Some spots or floaters in your vision field may also be there. In most situations, these shadows or floating images are nothing but the particles floating in the fluid that covers the inside of the eye. They are disturbing at times but such spots and floaters don’t harm your vision. They are just a part of the eye’s natural ageing process.
But if you feel that the number of floaters has suddenly increased. Or that there are flashes of light accompanying it. You must immediately get your eyes checked by an eye specialist. It is a sign that there might be an injury in your retina or that it might have detached. This is a condition that needs immediate medical attention and prevents serious vision loss.
The eye is often compared with a camera. The front of the eye contains a lens, similar to the camera, focusing images on the inside of the back of the eye. The area inside the eye is coated with special nerve cells. Some of the cells “respond to light,” and the others “take the picture” to the brain. When too much pressure develops up in the eye, it causes damage to the cells, which forms the image. This is called glaucoma.
There are many nerve cells in the back of the eye, and they are damaged only a few at a time. Therefore, Glaucoma is usually painless and comes with no noticeable symptoms. And it can take quite some time before someone with glaucoma feels the changes in vision. However, an ophthalmologist can detect glaucoma much earlier. Therefore, a visit to the eye specialist, on a regular basis, is essential for eye care in the elderly.
And as the vision loss due to this disease is permanent, early detection of the condition is extremely important.
Although there is no cure available for glaucoma, some medications are known to lower the pressure inside the eye and reduce the chance of further damage. Before you reach the final stages and need Glaucoma Surgery. By reaching for the right treatment early, vision loss from glaucoma can nearly always be prevented.
As our age increases, the risk of developing diabetes increases. Diabetes results in making the blood vessels “leaky.”
The retina has a bed of blood vessels. When diabetes makes these blood vessels leak, the liquid can build up in the retina. This blurs vision. Ultimately, the blood vessels can burst open and bleed. Or new blood vessels will grow to take their place. That is how it can cause permanent loss of vision.
Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes and an ageing population, this disease is expected to affect an increasing number of elderly people. You are advised to take the ‘dilated Fundal examination’ at least once every 2 years. And if Diabetic Retinopathy is detected, these examinations should be undertaken annually, with greater frequency according to the severity.
If you already have diabetes, then the best way for you to prevent the loss of vision is to follow the doctor’s advice about control of blood sugar, blood pressure, diet, exercise, and medication.
AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)
The nerve cells in the retina (the back of the eye ) are very close together in the area where the eye focuses the images that we see. This part of the retina is known as the macula. With age, the macula tends to change in different ways and cause a gradual loss of sharp vision.
Sometimes, the macula begins to break down. Sometimes, new blood vessels may grow where they do not belong. Age-related macular Degeneration is this condition of abnormal macula breakdown and/or new blood vessel creation.
The symptoms are:
- The ability to see fine details when looking directly at an object, no matter how close or far away it is, starts to decline.
- Your vision changes so that straight lines look wavering or faulty.
- Dark spots, shadows, or lines appear in your field of view.
There is no cure for Age-related Macular Degeneration. Some treatments, if started early enough, can slow the loss of vision and help a person retain a valuable vision for many years.
Lifestyle Improvements For Eye Care In Elderly
There are several things that you can do to keep your eyes as healthy as possible in your 60s. The improvements can be broadly divided into these categories:
Wear wrap-around sunglasses
Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection whenever you venture outside in the sun. The best lens color is a light yellow shade, which offsets blue light. Brown would be the next best color. Note that the cheaper glasses may only have a coating to block out UV light that gets rub off with time. Many people think it is the color that helps protect one’s eyes, but, it is the UV filter on, or in, the lens. Therefore, if the filtering coat disappears, the dark lens would increase pupil dilation, letting more light enter the eyes. Harming eye care in the elderly.
Wear the appropriate specs or lenses
An eye test at the Eye Hospital Delhi will verify what prescription of glasses or contact lenses you need. You must Wear the correct power of lenses. This will improve the quality of life and reduce the chance of accidents such as falls.
Even indirect smoking should be avoided for the eye care of a normal person as well as the elderly. Smoking produces cyanide. It is a toxin for the retina. Several research studies have determined the risk of macular degeneration in smokers is twice or even thrice more than in non-smokers. One study found specific damage to the macula as a result of smoking and significant damage to many tissue layers of the macula.
Limit the number of medications
Talk to your doctor or get a second opinion to make sure that you are not taking any extra (both prescription and non-prescription) medications than you need. And that your prescriptions do not conflict.
Exercise every day
Do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. You can also go walking, swimming, or other sports or activities that you enjoy. Moreover, exercising improves the flow of oxygen and blood circulation to every part of your body. Including your eyes. This is important for keeping good eye health.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, it increases your risk of diabetes, which may cause vision loss. You can do yoga for maintaining your weight. Only 12 minutes of yoga performed daily brought about innumerable changes in 68 genes. Further, reducing stress, as well as, reduced inflammation – an issue in diabetic retinopathy, optic neuritis, macular oedema, heart disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Increase the lighting as required
When you reach your 60s, your eyes need 3 times more light to see clearly than they required in your 20s. Poor lighting would strain your eyes. So, make changes in your home to increase the daylight. Further, ensure that your home has good artificial lighting. Use direct light for reading or some other kind of close work, for proper eye care in the elderly. But make sure that the lightings do not cause glare.
Stay away from microwave ovens
Leakages from microwaves are a direct cause of cataracts. Avoid peeking into the oven door window while it is switched on. Besides, the food proteins exposed to waves in the oven can become toxic to the lens, which is made up mostly of proteins.
Manage your mental health
Emotional health is very important to good physical well-being. Fear, anger, anxiety, stress, etc, are significant factors in many diseases. You can take some meditation, prayer, exercise, martial arts, etc, to help balance your emotions.
Get enough sleep
While we sleep our eyes get the rest, as well as, get continuously lubricated. This is essential for eye care in the elderly or even otherwise. Because this helps in clearing the dust and other particles that may have accumulated during the day.
Diet for eye care in elderly
Food with refined grains, too much sugar, and processed foods, and poor oils is an inflammatory diet. It contributes to or eventually causes chronic inflammatory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and eye issues. The high levels of inflammation in the body are an important factor in premature mortality.
Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables. They contain very few refined carbohydrates. And have the required supplementation of antioxidants helps keep one’s body and, therefore, eyes healthy and free of disease. That is why they are recommended for good eye care in the elderly ages.
Take a healthy, balanced diet. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains. This is crucial for your eye care for the elderly. Not taking healthy eye nutrition is one of the major reasons for many eye conditions. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fill your plate with different colours for good eye care for the elderly. It would not only improve your overall health but also protects your eyes against diseases such as AMD and Cataract.
Limit refined products. Lower the amount of sugar intake. Particularly white or refined sugar.And refined carbohydrates.
Eat whole grains. Include whole grains in your daily diet rather than refined white flour, rice, etc.
Avoid fats. Reduce the intake of oils, fats, and carbohydrates.
Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol reduces protective glutathione levels because it interferes with liver functioning.
Cut down on caffeine, coffee or tea, and soft drinks. Watch your intake of soft drinks and other processed foods that contain sugar. Sugar is linked to a 23% greater risk of heart failure. Slow down on fast foods and fried foods.
Avoid MSG. Monosodium Glutamate, used as a flavor enhancer, is a potential retinal toxin.
Read the ingredients part carefully when you buy processed foods. Avoid artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and colorings. Avoid foods that contain hydrogenated and transfats. These disrupt the digestive process.
Regular eye examinations
Last, but not least, is the importance of getting your eyes checked regularly by an eye specialist. Only an expert in the Eye Hospital Delhi, at the time of the examination, can detect diseases like cataracts, AMD, and glaucoma in the initial stages. Consulting a good eye doctor will also get you insights into systemic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
The 60s is the time when you are at a greater risk of developing eyesight-threatening conditions. All eye problems come with specific symptoms and some early signs.
Therefore, as you reach your 60s, you need to be aware of the warning signs of age-related eye health problems that could cause eyesight problems. Many eye diseases have no initial symptoms. They begin painlessly, and you may not notice the changes to your vision until it reaches an advanced stage. Making wise lifestyle choices, taking periodic eye exams, and exercising your eyes regularly can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health and vision as you age.
Visit an ophthalmologist immediately if you experience any such symptoms or problems. If you are looking for a good eye hospital in Delhi. Whether for undergoing Cataract Surgery or some other treatment of the eyes. Get in touch with us at EyeMantra.
Call +91-8851044355 now to book an appointment. Or email at [email protected].
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