In this edition of Wellness Wednesdays, we look at some helpful tips for preserving eyesight and improving vision.
As you or your loved one grows older it is normal to notice vision changes related to aging. It is important to be aware of what changes to eyesight may occur so that you or your loved one are prepared.
What effects of aging on vision should you/your loved one be aware of?
According to Health Canada, the effects of aging on vision can range from mildly irritating changes to serious eye diseases.
Mild changes may include:
- Difficulty reading small print
- Taking longer to adjust from light to dark
- More sensitivity to glare from sunlight or unshielded light bulbs
- Loss of depth perception, making it difficult to judge distances
- Difficulty in seeing contrasts and colour
- Dry eyes
- Tearing or watery eyes
Serious conditions may include:
- Cataracts- a gradual clouding of the natural lens of the eye
- Floaters- tiny spots that float across your field of vision
- Glaucoma- pressure within the eye destroys nerve fibres within the retina
- Macular degeneration- damage caused to the central part of the retina responsible for sharp focus
- Diabetic retinopathy- changes to blood vessels as a result of diabetes can starve the retina of oxygen
How can you/your loved one correct vision problems and minimize risk?
For most seniors, normal age-related vision loss can be corrected with glasses, medication, or surgery. The Eye Foundation of Canada suggests that even with more serious conditions, using vision aids and making changes to you or your loved ones home and routine can help keep you or your loved one safe.
Here are some steps you/your loved one can take to stay safe and independent, despite vision changes:
- If over the age of 45, have eyes examined on a regular basis
- Change light bulbs to ones with a higher wattage
- Don’t drive at night if experiencing problems with depth perception, glare, or other vision difficulties
- If suffering from dry eyes, a home humidifier or eye drops may help
- Eat foods that are rich in Vitamins A, C and E, such as carrots, kale, spinach, almonds, milk, citrus fruits and melons
- Reduce glare as much as possible by using good lampshades, sunglasses, and glare shields on screens/monitors
- Exercise to improve blood circulation, which in turn, will improve oxygen levels to the eyes and the removal of toxins
- Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from harmful UV light
Remember that although changes in eyesight can be a natural part of aging, it is important to talk to an eye care professional at the first sign of vision-loss in order to prevent the development of diseases which could be permanently damaging to the health of the eye.
Don’t miss our next edition of Wellness Wednesdays where we provide dental care tips for seniors!