Vision impairment of some sort is commonplace for people over the age of 65, says a report from the St. Petersburg, Fla. based publication Patch. As we get older, our risk of deteriorating vision increases exponentially.
Robin Quigg, an ophthalmic technician with the Eye Institute of West Florida, located in Largo, recommends yearly thorough eye exams for seniors over the age of 65. “[A] comprehensive dilated eye exam every year for early detection is key,” says Quigg.
Quigg discussed proper eye care in later life with a group of senior citizens at the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center in Gulfport, Fla. During her talk, she mentioned four major eye conditions and how they could be handled.
To start with, Quigg spoke about cataracts. Cataracts, said Quigg, are very common in people over 60 years old, even if they are not noticeable. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens, resulting in sensitivity to light, blurred vision, colors fading, and increased double vision. Cataract surgery (the removal of the cloudy lens) is recommended by Quigg.
Quigg then spoke about what she called “the silent theft of sight”: glaucoma. Glaucoma is a tricky entity, in that what warning signs it does have are difficult to detect in its early forms. It can cause blind spots in one’s vision, leading to blindness. Glaucoma does not yet have a cure, although treatments are available to aid in inhibiting and tracking the disease. In addition to eye drops, lasers and eye surgery are available for glaucoma sufferers.
Macular degeneration was brought up next. Macular degeneration is an age-related condition, as its manifestations occur only in people over the age of 50. Macular degeneration affects both eyes of those affected by it. While treatments for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) until recently were not extremely effective, a new type of eye injection called EYLEA which is known to work very well.
Lastly, Quigg brought up diabetes. Diabetes, the result of having an unstable amount of blood sugar, can drastically harm the eyes. When diabetes damages the retina, this is called diabetic retinopathy. Blindness occurs 25 times more often in people with diabetes.
In short, it is paramount to maintain a regimented, regular schedule of doctor’s visits either monthly or annually, to make sure your eyes are healthy and that you can tackle any arising conditions early on.