Vision changes shouldn’t be ignored at any age, but especially if you are an older adult. That’s because the risk for eye disease increases as we age. Identifying small changes before they become big ones is essential for early intervention and treatment. Here’s what seniors should know about eye health and aging.
Eye Conditions Common among Seniors
Your risk of developing a vision problem increases with age. A few common types of eye disease seniors experience include:
- Floaters: Seeing floaters in your line of vision can occur as you age. They don’t usually pose a serious threat to eye health, but can be a sign that a retina is detaching. If you notice particles floating in your vision, call the doctor or go to the emergency room.
- Cataracts: By the age of 80, your risk for developing cataracts climbs to 50%. Cloudy or double vision, seeing a yellow tint to colors, and sensitivity to light are all warning signs. Fortunately, cataracts can be removed through a routine outpatient procedure. Untreated, however, this common eye condition can lead to blindness.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD progresses slowly and gets worse over time. By contrast, the wet form of AMD is very aggressive. It can actually cause vision loss in a matter of weeks. The main symptom is the loss of central vision. While the progression of the disease can be slowed by laser treatments, there isn’t a cure. Early intervention is essential.
- Glaucoma: This is another eye disease for which risk increases as you age. Family history also plays a role. The catch is there are no early symptoms. The main method of detection is a yearly visit to the eye doctor. Unfortunately, if it isn’t diagnosed and treated early, glaucoma can result in blindness.
Vision Symptoms That Require Follow-Up
If you notice any of the following vision changes, you should discuss them with an eye doctor:
- Yellow cast to field of vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Cloudy vision
- Eye twitch
- Inability to produce tears
- Burning, itching, or gritty feeling
- Straining to read
- Teary eyes
- Eyelid pain
- Swollen eyelids
- Trouble distinguishing green from blue
Vision Changes That Are Red Flags
While the vision changes outlined above should be addressed with your physician, other symptoms can be signs of a serious or life-threatening medical issue. Call 911 or your primary care physician if you experience any of the following:
- 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 wait to see if any of these red flags improve on their own. While it may be something minor, these symptoms are also linked to strokes and other neurological problems.
Assisted Living Provides a Safe Environment for Seniors with Vision Loss
If you or a senior family member have experienced vision loss, a move to an assisted living community might be a good solution. From step-free showers to good lighting, the environment is designed to support success. Call a Heritage Senior Community to learn more today!