Those of us in the prime of life know what is like to experience deterioration in eyesight but vanity or denial can often put us off from dealing with the problem. Eyesight can change quite quickly and opticians (also known as an ophthalmic practitioner) recommend that our eyesight should be checked, as a minimum, every 2 years and for the over 60s an annual check is best. Many people are not having checks and are unnecessarily struggling with their vision.
In fact, poor vision in the UK is responsible for causing approximately 270,000 falls in people over the age of 60 each year. There are a number of reasons that can cause an individuals eyesight to deteriorate, and it is particularly important for individuals over the age of 60 to have regular appointments with the opticians.
What can cause poor eyesight in the elderly?
There are a number of factors that can cause vision to deteriorate amongst the elderly, however it may simply be due to the ageing process. This is because as we age the lenses in the eye lose their elasticity and ability to focus on near or distant objects.
There are also a number of conditions that can cause vision to deteriorate as we age and these can include: Cataracts, Glaucoma, Migraines, Macular Degeneration (central blurred vision), Retinal Detachment and Diabetes.
These conditions can cause an individual to encounter a number of problems within daily life, and this is largely because they may find doing some tasks more difficult, as they may not be able to see what they are doing properly and this can cause a number of different issues, which could potentially put the individual into a dangerous situation, and increase the likelihood of falls.
How can poor eyesight affect the elderly?
Poor eyesight can have a significant impact on the elderly, and it can have a long-term impact on daily living. This is because poor eyesight can make moving about the home much more difficult, and this in turn can increase the likelihood of falls. Poor eyesight can also impact daily living tasks such as: bathing, eating, dressing and grooming. This can have a significant impact on an individuals confidence, self-esteem and well-being.
Poor eyesight can also impact other areas of daily life for an individual. Vision problems can affect an individuals ability to drive, and it may also prevent them from driving altogether. An individuals eyesight can also impact their social life. Poor vision may limit their ability to perform some activities. This may leave an individual feeling too frightened to leave their home. Elderly individuals who have poor eyesight tend to struggle moving around unfamiliar places much more than their own homes, and this in turn can lower confidence and reduce self-esteem.
What can be done to help?
There a number of ways that an individual can be helped if they begin to notice a deterioration of their vision. The key method is visiting an optician, and ensuring that eyesight is well monitored. If an individuals eyesight is regularly monitored, a treatment plan may be established, and this can significantly improve daily living for individuals and reduce the likelihood of falls. It is recommended that individuals, particularly those over the age of 60 get their eyesight checked once a year to monitor any changes that may occur to their vision.
Having regularly checks of the eyes can, also, reveal other health problems because some medical conditions can cause changes in the eye that experts can spot. There are instances of people finding out about serious health conditions from visits to their opticians.
There are many other methods that can be used to prevent falls amongst the elderly as a result of falls. For example making sure that everything in an individuals home is kept in the same place. This can be particularly beneficial for those with extremely poor eyesight because they can also use memory to know where items around the house are, and this can reduce the likelihood of individuals tripping on items that have been moved.
Another way in which the likelihood of falls as a result of eyesight can be reduced is through a home care package. This can be beneficial for individuals who have poor eyesight because care workers can provide them with any support that they may need with any daily living tasks. Care workers can also help to build an individuals confidence and this in turn may decrease the likelihood of falls. Home care workers can, also, help the individual arrange an appointment with an optician or, where mobility is an issue, a home optician visit.