The Importance of Regular Eye Exams for Seniors

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Regular eye exams for seniors are important for preventing age-related vision issues.

August is Eye Exam Month and the perfect time to focus on why it’s important for seniors to schedule routine eye exams. According to the American Optometric Association, after age 60, a number of eye conditions and diseases can develop that may impact an individual’s vision permanently. Not only can changes to a senior’s eyes and vision occur naturally from aging, but other factors, such as chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, can cause long-term changes as well.

Although some minor eye and vision changes may be inevitable as the older adult in your life ages, regular eye exams for seniors play a significant role in maintaining eye and vision health. During routine eye exams, steps can be taken to make sure preventable issues don’t affect a senior’s vision long term.

Common Age-Related Eye Conditions

The following are a few common age-related eye conditions that can arise for seniors:

  • Floaters and flashers – Floaters are small spots that float across a senior’s field of vision. They’re often noticed in a bright room or outside in bright daylight. In many cases, floaters are normal and are not cause for alarm. In some cases, however, floaters may indicate a more serious issue such as retinal detachment if they are accompanied by light flashes.
  • Presbyopia – Presbyopia is a loss of ability to see small print or close objects. It is a normal process that usually occurs gradually over a lifetime. Vision can be improved with reading glasses or bifocal lenses.
  • Dry eyes (or keratoconjunctivitis sicca) – When tear glands don’t produce enough tears or only produce low-quality tears, dry eyes can occur. This can cause itching, burning, and even some loss of vision. A special lubricating eye drops or a humidifier may help.
  • Tearing (or epiphora) – Tearing, or excess tears, can be caused by a sensitivity to light, wind, or temperature changes. Protecting the eyes with sunglasses can frequently help. Tearing can also be indicative of an eye infection or a blocked tear duct and should be brought to the attention of a physician.

Other more serious eye conditions in seniors include macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and cataracts. Each of these conditions can potentially cause significant changes in a senior’s vision and quality of life and must be treated promptly by a doctor.

Tips to Maintain Senior Eye Health

With regular eye exams for seniors, physicians and ophthalmologists can pinpoint and discuss treatment options for age-related eye conditions to help maintain optimal quality of life. In addition, family caregivers can:

  • Help a senior loved one maintain regular visits to his or her family physician to monitor overall health and watch for warning signs that may point to diabetes or other health conditions that could affect vision.
  • Make sure the senior has an eye exam with pupil dilation at least once a year if they have diabetes or a family history of any eye diseases.
  • Pay close attention to any signs of changes in their vision and seek treatment immediately upon any concerning findings. These signs can include holding onto walls as they walk, increased difficulty reading, or bumping into household objects as they move throughout the home.

If a senior you love needs help keeping up with regular eye exams and other medical appointments, a professional home care agency like Visiting Care Giving Services can help. Our expert caregivers can assist with transportation services and accompaniment so that even if you can’t attend, your loved one can maintain his or her regular health care appointments.

Visiting Care Giving Services, the Chesterfield caregiving experts, provides professional home care services that can help seniors remain active and independent in the comfort of home. For more information about our trusted home care services, contact us online, or call us at (618) 366-9058 (St. Clair County) or (636) 493-9058 (St. Charles County). For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.