Impaired vision is one of the health issues among seniors in the world today. Approximately one in every three people around age sixty-five have impaired vision due to aging.
The population of elderly people in the US increases annually. Their number is estimated to reach seventy million by the year 2030. And vision loss is a major issue among them. It is often associated with a reduction in their ability to carry out daily tasks and high depression risks. In this article, we review four of the most common vision impairment and their causes.
Common Impaired Vision Aging Symptoms
1. Macular degeneration (age-related)
It is one of the leading vision loss causes in people above age sixty-five. Macular is the retina region that provides central vision. The risk for this eye condition increases with age, risk factors of cardiovascular diseases like cigarette smoking, and hypertension. Macular degeneration can be classified as either wet (exudative) or dry (nonexudative).
Ninety percent of macular degeneration have the dry (nonexudative) form. It is the most common form and only accounts for ten to twenty percent of severe vision loss.
Most people with dry form have good eyesight through most of their lives. Here vision loss is a result of geographic progressive atrophy development of macular degeneration. For diagnosis, an annual dilation eye examination is performed to detect symptoms.
Possible symptoms of this condition include scotoma, distinction, or blurred vision. The vision must be self-monitored. It can be done by using devices that detect vision alterations like the Amsler grid.
Consuming carotenoid-rich food may reduce risks of oxidative or advanced macular degeneration. Two foods high in carotenoids and are good for the human retina include zeaxanthin and lutein. Zeaxanthin and lutein-rich food include yellow squash, honeydew melon, cucumber, broccoli, mango, pumpkin, green beans, peppers, corn, grapes, apples, peas, spinach, squash, egg yolk, celery, and scallions.
Glaucoma is an umbrella name for several disorders characterized by loss of visual field and glaucomatous damage to the optic nerve. It is one leading cause of blindness in the US and most common among African Americans.
The most common glaucoma form is the open-angle primary glaucoma. It causes about ten percent blindness cases in the US and affects both males and females equally. Associated factors with this glaucoma form include increasing age, family history, hypertension, diabetes, and myopia.
This glaucoma is chronic and processes gradually. People with it are usually asymptomatic until the disease is in its late course. An eye examination will reveal loss of visual field, increased cupping of the optic disc, normal and open angles, and pressures that are more than 21 mmHg.
The first approach to treating this glaucoma firm is medical therapy. With medication, intraocular pressure is decreased by improving aqueous outflow, or the ciliary body secretes aqueous humor.
The agents that lower intraocular pressure belongs to six classes:
- Alpha-adrenergic agonist
- Adrenergic antagonist
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
- Hyperosmotic agents
- Parasympathomimetic agents
- Prostaglandin receptor agonists
Although most of the medications available for glaucoma are topically applied, there is the possibility of developing some systemic side effects.
A cataract is responsible for most cases of blindness. Thankfully the blinding effects cataract has on its patients has been significantly reduced because of the safe, effective, and available surgery. A cataract is prevalent among people over sixty-five. Only about five percent of cataract cases affect those under sixty-five years.
Cataract formation may occur due to ultraviolet light exposure. Although no universal definition of cataract exists, it refers generally to the capacities of the lens that disrupts vision function.
Those with significant visual cataracts may experience blurred glared or vision. The progression of cataracts is usually slow and may take several months or years. However, there is some cataract type that progresses more quickly.
The common method of testing a cataract is through surgery. This surgery is often done when vision function has been reduced, to an extent where daily activities are disrupted. Finding lens opacity is not enough reason to perform surgery immediately.
4. Diabetic retinopathy
The cause of middle-aged blindness has been posted to diabetic retinopathy. It also causes a significant amount of vision issues in seniors. The rise of said eyes duration affects the prevalence of this eye condition directly.
However, a significant cause of diabetic retinopathy is observed in the frat few months of diabetes diagnosis for elderly people.
The available treatment for diabetic retinopathy is surgical.
Poor eyesight or vision loss is a common occurrence among elderly ones. It is a sign that their body system is not as active as it was during their youthful days. However, some eye issues are hereditary or may even be caused by one’s past or present lifestyle.
This group of people needs to be educated about impaired vision aging symptoms as near detection increases the chances of successful treatment. They are advised to also go for periodical eye examination and report any changes to their doctor as soon as possible.