From cataracts and glaucoma to age-related macular degeneration, seniors are undoubtedly more susceptible to eye conditions. However, if you’re 65 or older and enjoy excellent vision, it’s still crucial to prioritize regular eye exams. The importance of eye exams for seniors can’t be overstated, especially since a lot of debilitating eye conditions become more common with age – and a lot of them are virtually asymptomatic in the early stages.
The Importance of Eye Exams for Seniors
Our bodies go through a wide variety of changes as we approach our golden years, and our eye health is no exception. Even if you’re enjoying great vision as a senior, you need to make regular eye exams a priority. As mentioned above, some vision problems begin with virtually no symptoms. Unfortunately, by the time many seniors notice a problem, the disease has already advanced, leading to irreparable vision loss. Put simply, regular eye exams are the only way to ensure your ocular health throughout your senior years.
Eye Problems Affecting Seniors
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common eye conditions affecting seniors. Macular degeneration impacts the center of the retina, which is called the macula. The macula helps you see colors and small details, like the pattern on a leaf or a road sign. It also helps you make out the details of faces or events on a television screen. Oftentimes, macular degeneration goes unnoticed because peripheral vision is unaffected. However, if you’re noticing a small blind spot in the center of your vision, you may be experiencing this condition. Macular degeneration can be genetic, so it’s important to schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor if you have family members with the condition.
Cataracts can affect one or both eyes, causing a cloudy appearance in the eye that blurs vision. This condition also affects your eye’s sensitivity to colors and contrasts, making it hard to detect things like traffic signals. While cataract surgery is an option for many adults, it’s important to catch cataracts early to reduce the long-term impact on your eyes.
Glaucoma is another major cause of blindness in the United States, affecting an estimated one million Americans age 65 and older. It is also the most common cause of blindness among African-Americans. The most prevalent form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, which causes significant vision loss over the course of several years. Glaucoma is a tricky condition, as it usually doesn’t present symptoms until the disease is very advanced. Glaucoma vision loss isn’t reversible, but your doctor can prescribe a preventative treatment if it’s caught early enough.
Eye exams for seniors are an incredibly important factor in maintaining your quality of life throughout your sunset years. As a good rule of thumb, senior citizens should have their eyes checked at least every two years. If you have other risk factors – hereditary conditions or diabetes, for example – you should have your eyes checked once a year at minimum. Vision changes can affect your quality of life and your safety, so make sure you schedule your appointment as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for a relaxing senior living community with a focus on preventative healthcare, contact the Crossings at Riverview. Our welcoming community provides peace of mind for families and their loved ones by offering assisted living, respite care, and memory care services. Tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities first-hand. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!