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5 Major Causes of Blindness in Older Adults

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Seniors frequently notice their visual acuity decreases with age. Though this is often dismissed as just part of getting old, it may be caused by certain types of health conditions. Being able to define the cause of the vision loss may help seniors have a better idea of their potential treatment options. Here are the five most common reasons seniors experience blindness.

1. Glaucoma

Roughly 75 percent of seniors who become legally blind lose their vision due to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a type of vision disorder characterized by the glaucomatous optic nerve being damaged. It occurs when high pressure inside the eye damages the nerve, and glaucoma gradually reduces the width of a person’s vision field until he or she can no longer see. There are certain surgeries and medical treatments that can reduce the pressure on the eye and minimize vision loss, but glaucoma isn’t entirely treatable.

Aging adults living with vision-related issues who need help accomplishing daily tasks should consider hiring a trained caregiver. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder care. Winnipeg families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

2. Cataracts

Cataracts happen when parts of the lenses of the eye become opaque and no longer let light shine into the eye. The exact cause isn’t understood, but it’s typically linked to ultraviolet light exposure, corticosteroid use, or trauma. Seniors who wear glasses that block UV rays can reduce their risks of cataracts. Cataracts were once one of the leading causes of blindness, but fortunately there are now surgeries that can treat the issue and restore sight.

3. Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The macula is a part of the eye responsible for central vision, but it tends to degrade over time. Seniors may notice their peripheral vision is better because items in the center of vision look hazy or faded. Eventually, it may result in loss of vision in one or both eyes. Preventing age-related macular degeneration relies on eating a healthy diet, not smoking, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, avoiding excessive sugar intake, and avoiding UV ray exposure. 

If you’re unable to help your loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent vision impairment and other serious conditions, consider hiring a professionally trained caregiver. Winnipeg in-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness among middle-aged people, and it also greatly affects seniors. People with untreated diabetes have very high blood glucose levels, which results in a lot of damage to the delicate mechanisms of the eye. At first, vision may just blur lightly before readjusting, but eventually it could result in complete blindness. There are some surgeries that can reduce vision loss, but the only way to keep it from happening in the first place is to carefully monitor and maintain blood glucose levels.

5. Myopic Degeneration

Though less common than other eye issues on this list, myopic degeneration is still fairly common among seniors. Myopic degeneration is a progressive stretching of the eye due to myopia that eventually damages the retina. Seniors who are nearsighted are more likely to have this condition, and it’s thought to be hereditary.

Seniors with vision impairment might need extra help to live safely and comfortably at home. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Winnipeg seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call us today at (204) 489 6000.