With the aging population in the United States, it is an important issue for all seniors to keep their eyes healthy. According to the National Institute of Aging, the increasing number of seniors are at risk for age-related eye diseases. The disease can cause gradual vision loss, leading to blindness in some cases.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in people over 60 in the United States. It is a leading cause of blindness in this age group. Age-related macular degeneration is the breakdown of the macula- a small area of the retina in the back of the eye that is responsible for sharp, straight ahead vision.
AMD affects both eyes, but is often discovered in only one eye. The symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Blurred vision
- Blind spots
- Wavy or distorted vision
- Flashes of light
- Loss of color vision
The symptoms of AMD may be more noticeable in dim light or during the night.
What Causes Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
There is no single cause of AMD. It is, however, a disease of aging. Although it is most common in people over 60, it can occur at any age.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration- dry and wet.
- Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when drusen (small deposits on the retina) grow and begin to damage the macula.
- Wet AMD is the second most common form of age-related macular degeneration. It occurs when abnormal new blood vessels grow under the retina and leak blood and fluid. The blood leaks into the retina and can cause it to swell and die. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the leaking blood vessels.
How Can You Help Your Senior Protect Their Eyes from Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
There are many ways for seniors to protect their eyes and keep them healthy.
1. See an Optometrist for An Annual Eye Exam
The first thing to do is schedule an annual eye exam with an eye doctor. The eye doctor will test the eyes for color vision and vision sharpness. During the exam, the doctor can check for signs of macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
2. Avoid Sunlight and UV Rays
Because age-related macular degeneration is a disease of the eye, it is important for seniors to protect their eyes from sun and UV rays. Sunlight and UV rays can damage the retina and cause macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
3. Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can help to prevent macular degeneration and other eye diseases. It can also strengthen the lens of the eye and help to prevent cataracts.
Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. When going outside, it is important for seniors to cover their eyes.
5. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoke can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
6. Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise is important for seniors. Exercise can strengthen the heart and improve circulation to the eyes.
7. Home Care Assistance
Home care assistance can help seniors with daily tasks, such as housekeeping, meals, and transportation.
It is important to take steps to protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Home care assistance can help your seniors stay safe, independent and comfortable at their home. Give us a call today!