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  • Health & Wellness

Eye Exams are Crucial for Older Adults

It’s important to take care of your eyesight as you age. Regular eye exams can help with early diagnosis of treatable conditions. August is “National Eye Exam Month,” so make sure to keep your eyes healthy with regular screenings, and increase awareness of the following conditions.
 
  1. Lens stiffness in our eyes can affect our ability to focus on things close up or far away. If you have problems reading print or seeing up close, let your doctor know! Bifocals are an easy solution.
  1. Cataracts happen when your eye lens gets cloudy. Aging, smoking, alcohol, sunlight exposure, diabetes, and certain medications can increase your risk. If you find yourself having problems seeing at night, reading road signs, or reading fine print, talk to your eye doctor. Together, you can decide when to replace cloudy eye lenses with clear ones.
  1. Diabetes is a major, but preventable, cause of vision loss. If you have diabetes, tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye may bleed or overgrow and, eventually, cause blindness. It’s often too late to treat the problem by the time you notice a loss in vision, so yearly screenings are very important for people with diabetes to look for early changes in the back of the eye. The best way to prevent eye problems from diabetes is to work with your doctor to control your blood sugar and blood pressure.
  1. Macular degeneration can cause blindness with a breakdown in the central part of the retina. Symptoms include problems driving, reading, watching television, or taking care of yourself in your home. You may also find yourself using a brighter light or magnifying glass to read. Your eye doctor could recommend special vitamins for this condition, or discuss other treatments with you.
  1. Glaucoma is a condition caused by high pressure on the inside your eye. There are typically no symptoms, though a gradual vision loss may be noticed during eye exams. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. Luckily, it can usually be treated with eye drops that will lower pressure inside the eye.

Dr. Lynn M. Strange serves as medical director for InnovAge Colorado.
 
Learn about other health risks for older adults, as well as recommendations for symptoms and treatment on the InnovAge Blog, including: