As you age, your vision may not be as sharp as it once was. In fact, an estimated 6.1 million seniors over the age of 65 reported some form of vision loss in 2014, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. Of these, 350,000 are completely blind.
While some form of vision impairment is normal, you can minimize the degree by keeping your eyes healthy. Here are some ways seniors can maintain eye health naturally. Eye health in the elderly starts at home and with manageable long-term lifestyle changes.
Common Vision Problems in Seniors
The following eye-related issues are typical among seniors.
Your eyes may appear “clouded over.” Cataracts usually affect both eyes, though it’s often more severe in one eye. This leads to blurry vision and a loss of ability to see clearly under low-light conditions.
Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerves, leading to loss of peripheral vision. It usually starts with one eye, then the other. The disease is believed to be partly hereditary.
As implied in its name, this condition affects people with diabetes. This is due to damage in the blood vessels that deliver nutrients to the retina. In severe cases, diabetic retinopathy can lead to total vision loss.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The macula is located in the retina in the back of the eye. Macular degeneration affects one’s ability to discern colors and details. Those with AMD may have difficulty seeing details on a person’s face.
Senior Eye Care Tips
There are natural and non-invasive ways to improve eye health. Consider these lifestyle habits for better eyesight. If you have an elderly loved one living in their own home or in senior housing in Lafayette, LA, a CAREGiver will be able to provide assistance in these daily healthy eye habits.
1. Eat More Eye-Healthy Foods
You may have heard that carrots are good for the eyes. Any food high in vitamin A (AKA beta-carotene) promotes healthy vision. Vitamin A assists in the production of pigments in your retina that allows the eye to see colors. Studies also suggest vitamin A may reduce the risk of myopia. Other foods high in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, squash, kale, and spinach.
2. Limit Direct Sunlight
Sunlight exposure is good for your body; it assists in the body’s natural vitamin D protection. However, be sure to shield your eyes and never stare directly into the sun. UV ray exposure has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration. When outdoors, wear sunglasses with UV protection.
3. Exercise Your Eyes
Your eyes need exercise just like your muscles. This stimulates blood flow and oxygen, in turn ensuring your eyes receive ample nutrients. A good eye exercise is to blink rapidly about 10 times, then close your eyes and rest for 20 seconds. Rinse and repeat.
4. Use Your Prescription Glasses
If you have prescription glasses, be sure to actually use them as prescribed by your optometrist. Whether you’re farsighted or nearsighted, not wearing your glasses forces your eyes to strain to see clearly. Straining your eyes forces the optic nerves to work harder to focus.
5. Get Regular Vision Exams
Even if you have prescription glasses, your vision may still change over time. As such, even your glasses may not provide adequate 20/20 vision. As a result, you may strain your eyes even with your glasses on. Regular eye exams ensure your glasses are up to date.
We perceive the world largely through our vision. This is why it’s so important to preserve our eyes as we get older. Our compassionate CAREGivers at Home Instead can assist your senior loved one with the above tips to retain their eye and overall bodily health. Contact us today to learn about our personalized senior home care services in Lafayette, LA, and surrounding areas.