The eyes are the windows to the soul, is the old saying. Whether this is true, they are one of our most cherished senses. With good eyesight, your parent can enjoy the beauty of the world, read a good book, and even watch an entertaining movie. Good vision helps your parent be more independent, so he can continue to do daily tasks to take care of himself, such as preparing his meals or even driving. While you can always hire a home care provider to help with these tasks, the more your parent can continue to manage on his own, the more independent he’ll feel.
That’s why it’s so important as you take care of your aging parent to be aware of the various eye conditions that can take away the freedom that comes from good eyesight. Here are the five most common eye diseases that affect the elderly population.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye occurs when your parent’s tear ducts don’t work well. He may feel stinging, burning, or sandiness in the eyes. It is more common in older women, but can happen to anyone as they age. Having a humidifier can help alleviate the symptoms. A home care provider can help keep the humidifier filled and sanitized, so it’s not causing other health issues, while providing the moisture your parent needs.
Cataracts occur when the lens of an eye gets a cloudy film on it, causing blurred vision. If it becomes large, it can greatly reduce vision. Cataract surgery is a fairly common and simple surgery to help alleviate this problem, but care from you or a home care provider will be needed as your parent recuperates.
When too much fluid builds up in the eye, it can cause pressure. This pressure can lead to glaucoma. Without treatment, it can lead to blindness or vision loss. The main issue with this disease is that there are often no symptoms until it’s too late. But if your parent has regular eye visits where they dilate his eyes, the optometrist will check for glaucoma, so that if it’s an issue, it can be treated immediately, reducing its effects.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
This disease affects the central part of vision. So if it sets in, it can greatly hamper your parent’s ability to do many activities, such as driving or reading. It is the leading cause of vision loss among older adults. It is a progressive disease that often begins without any symptoms. But once they develop, they affect the way your parent sees the world. He may see straight lines looking wavy, or see a blurry center in his line of vision.
This disease occurs in those suffering from diabetes. It develops slowly, but the risk can be reduced by keeping blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.
Don’t take your parent’s eye health for granted. Regular eye exams will help catch most of these diseases and conditions before they do any irreparable damage.