Health is a concern at any age, but as we get older, we need to pay more attention to our eyes. Vision issues first present themselves earlier in life. Many kids are in glasses by the time they finish grade school. While more folks may find they need glasses in the following years, and many people will need stronger prescriptions over time, there tend not to be brand new vision issues for a good few decades. But once we or our loved ones enter our golden years, the risk of developing vision-related medical issues increases.
Just what are these issues, and what symptoms can clue you in to their presence? And if you or your loved one do suffer from blindness or impaired vision, where do you look for a senior living community equipped to provide the assistance you need?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage a person’s optic nerve. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes, and can result in vision loss or blindness. While there are treatments available to stem further vision loss, glaucoma can be present without noticeable symptoms. One of the earlier signs of glaucoma is the loss of peripheral vision. If you or your loved one is having trouble seeing objects off to the side or out of the corner of the eye, it’s important to make an appointment to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors. It attacks a part of the eye known as the macula, and has a negative impact on central vision. Central vision is what allows us to see straight ahead, and to distinguish fine details. As AMD sets in, tasks like reading, driving, and even recognizing faces can become challenging. Some warning signs include difficulty distinguishing colors or reading road signs, or seeing dark spots towards the center of your vision.
Over your eye, there’s a transparent lens that lets light pass through. Cataracts are cloudy spots on this lens that impair vision. As we age, the risk of developing cataracts increases. The condition can be treated, but only with surgery. As cataracts begin to develop, a number of symptoms serve as clues to their presence, such as blurred or clouded vision, increased sensitivity to light and glare, double vision, and halos around lights.
Diabetic retinopathy poses a threat to the vision of those with diabetes. Over time, diabetes causes damage to blood vessels, including those in the retina. If those suffering from the condition don’t seek treatment, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. Signs of the condition include an empty spot in the center of vision, blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, and seeing spots or “floaters.”
Floaters can also be an indicator of retinal detachment, a condition where the retina actually tears away from the underlying tissue. As with several of the other conditions mentioned here, failure to seek treatment quickly can lead to blindness.
It’s important to take note of any sudden changes to vision, such as blurry vision or loss of vision. Sudden changes like these are one of the commonly recognized indicators of a stroke. The window for receiving treatment for a stroke is incredibly small, with a limited time to act before permanent brain damage or even death occur.
In an assisted living community like Lexington Square, assistance is provided to aid residents suffering from visual impairment. Additionally, staff are trained to monitor for the symptoms described above, so that conditions can be identified and treated as early as possible. For more information on assisted living in the Chicago area, contact Lexington Square today.