I for your Eye: How to prevent cataract and glaucoma in your senior years
Healthy vision is the cornerstone to a well-lived life. This is especially true in your senior years. It reduces the probability of silly accidents, makes people more self-reliant, and improves their confidence to navigate the indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, as people age, their optic nerve weakens, leading to compromised eyesight. In India, about 22–35% of elderly people suffer from some form of visual impairment.
Research indicates that over 80% of these instances among seniors can either be avoided or treated with the right care. Staying on top of your eye health is now easier than ever, with many elder care services in Chennai and other metro cities providing at-home services. However, here are some ways to begin caring for your own vision at home.
What to Look Out For
The most common eye problems that seniors face are cataracts and glaucoma. These issues can occur in one or both eyes, simultaneously.
Cataracts are a condition wherein a film forms over part or all of the eye lens, blocking light to the retina. This leads to cloudy vision. Typically, there are some tell-tale signs of developing cataracts, including sensitivity to light, double vision, blurred vision, or lower vision clarity in the dark.
Glaucoma is an eye condition that arises due to damage of the optic nerve. This is caused by too much pressure inside the eyes. Detecting glaucoma on your own can be tricky since there are often no immediate symptoms. However, distorted vision, eye fatigue, eye pain or frequent headaches can be signs that warrant a check-up.
Tips for Good Eye-Care
While cataracts can be reversed with surgery, damage from glaucoma is irreversible. Fortunately, both cataracts and glaucoma can be avoided. Whether you are caring for yourself or have a patient caretaker, here are some ways to ensure eye health as you age:
Pay Attention to Nutrition
The food you consume can go a long way in eye care. A healthy diet that includes all essential micronutrients and antioxidants can keep your eyesight healthy from the inside out.
- Vitamin A, C, and E are important for a strong vision. Include a lot of greens, citrus fruits, carrots, sweet potatoes, and nuts in your meals.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help drain intraocular fluid from eyes, thereby reducing eye pressure and lowering your risk of glaucoma. Fish and other seafood, walnuts, chia seeds, plant oils like canola oil, soybean oil and flaxseed oil are all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Water can also help keep your eyes moist and prevent damage.
Cover Your Eyes
Just like sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays, protective eye gear like sunglasses can help you improve your eye health when you step outdoors. Extremely bright or reflective light can damage your lens.
- When you step outdoors, wear sunglasses that block out at least 95% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Glasses with reflective or grey tints can help while driving.
- If you have weakened vision indoors, get checked to see if you need reading glasses.
Keep Blood Sugar Under Control
High blood sugar or diabetes can increase your chances of developing cataracts or glaucoma. Keeping diabetes under control can improve your eyesight, in addition to overall health.
- Check your glucose levels often and watch your diet to keep diabetes at bay. Alserv’s elder care services in Chennai can help you get in touch with the best doctors in the city for evaluation.
- If you have already been diagnosed, follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medicines on time.
Schedule Regular Eye Check-Ups
Even if you believe that your eyes are in top form, it is still advisable to get them checked regularly. Conditions like glaucoma can occur with no initial tell-tale signs. Ophthalmologists are trained to pick out the slightest discrepancies in eye health via a range of tests like checking for ocular pressure, the field of vision and examining the optic nerve.
- Make it a point to visit your eye doctor at least once a year. Alserv’s geriatric care in Chennai has a list of best ophthalmologists to choose from for your care.
- If you feel any pressure in your eyes or a blurred vision, consult a doctor immediately.
Compromised vision is often not taken as seriously as other illnesses such as heart disease. However, weakening eyesight can be indicative of bigger issues like diabetes or even a stroke. Besides, strong eyesight for seniors can lead to a more independent life, whether while living on your own or in care facilities. If you find it difficult to keep track of your medical appointments, Alserv can help you monitor all your needs, ensuring that you are always fit and in your best health.