Many seniors think they see better than they actually do, visual impairment can creep up on you. Your eyes can get worse without you even noticing, so it’s a good idea to get regular check ups with your optician.
How Can Seniors Improve Their Vision?
Visiting your optometrist can help you improve your vision by getting new glasses or a new prescription. Most 70-year-olds are content with their eyesight, but many overestimate how well they can actually see.
Seniors and Visual Impairment
Overall, 61.5% of seniors could significantly improve their vision by getting glasses or changing the prescription of ones they already had.
Visual impairment can creep up on you, making it difficult to notice that your eyes are getting worse. So it’s a good idea to visit an optician regularly when you get older, even if you don’t feel your sight is deteriorating.
The findings show that many older people who think their eyesight is good might be mistaken. Above all, it was reduced contrast sensitivity that made people think their sight was poor. Impaired visual acuity or visual field defects had less of an impact on how they perceived their own eyesight.
What Are the Most Common Eye Diseases?
Many senior men and women have worse eyesight than they expect, but overall men’s eyesight tended to be better. This might be due to higher levels of cataracts in women. 27% of women had cataracts, while 19% of men have it.
The most common eye diseases amongst seniors are:
Glaucoma occurs when there is elevated pressure inside the eye, which can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss and blindness. There are typically no initial signs, and, without knowing it, as many as one million people may have glaucoma. This disease is one of the largest causes of blindness in the United States.
A cataract is the clouding of the transparent lens in the eye. The lens is made up of water and protein but when the protein clumps together it can begin to distort light transmission through the lens. If the cataract worsens and starts having a serious effect on vision, surgery may be necessary to remove and replace the blurry lens with a new one.
Macular Degeneration (MD) diminishes sight in a dramatic way: It affects one’s central vision. Although people with MD rarely go completely blind because of it, many find it difficult to read, drive and perform other daily functions. This condition affects the macula, an area at the center of the retina that is responsible for focused, central vision.
This potentially blinding disorder is a complication of diabetes. Diabetes causes abnormal changes in the retina’s blood vessels, causing them to become leaky and grow where they should not. These new vessels tend to break and bleed. As they try to heal, the damaged blood vessels will contract and detach the retina.
Eye Tests Every Senior Should Have
Age-related eye diseases are diagnosed through an exam performed by an ophthalmologist. A comprehensive eye exam should include at least the following three tests.
- Visual acuity test: The familiar lettered eye chart measures how well you see at various distances.
- Pupil dilation: Drops are placed in the eye to widen the pupil. This allows the doctor to view more of the retina and look for signs of disease. After the examination, close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.
- Tonometry: This test determines the fluid pressure inside the eye, and there are many methods of doing so. An “air puff” test is the most common way to screen for high intraocular pressure. It is a painless process in which a small jet of air is shot against the cornea. Other more involved tests may be required to obtain more accurate readings.
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