Vision is a monumental factor in everyone's lives, allowing us to see, communicate, play, work, and have an overall interaction with the world around us. It is essential that we take care of our eyes and vision, and take steps to prevent or stop further worsening of visual impairments and preventable eye injuries.
PRE-TEST: Answer the following three questions to the best of your ability. If you do not already know the answers, after this presentation you will be able to answer them correctly and understand why that is the correct answer.
1) What condition is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly population?
2) True or False: many of the leading eye diseases do not show early symptoms.
3) What is the most common self imposed risk older adults with vision loss experience?
Vision loss affects more than 37 million Americans above the age of 50. The condition that is the most common in causing vision loss in the older adult is Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). Along with ARMD, other disease processes that result in vision loss include glaucoma, ocular complications from diabetes mellitus, and age related cataracts.
Many of the most common eye diseases do not show early symptoms. Instead, it may take months or even years to finally have symptoms begin to surface and cause issues with vision. It is important to recognize these symptoms as soon as they arrive, and it is also important to take steps to prevent furthering of the disease at all and especially to stop it before it progresses to the point where vision loss is experienced. There are numerous resources available to screen for vision loss diseases and detect them early enough to prevent any permanent damage.
Loss of vision can create a number of safety hazards, and one of the most common is getting behind the wheel of a car. Certain things such as not being able to see road signs clearly, the inability to judge speed, changes in color perception (stop lights), and problems seeing at night are risk factors that threaten the safety of the older adult with vision loss. It is important to not drive a vehicle if you feel it is unsafe, but there are also tips to help the older adult be safer when behind the wheel. These tips include but are not limited to: using extra caution at intersections, reducing speed, limiting driving to daytime only, avoiding wearing eyeglasses and sunglasses with wide frames, and even taking a driving course specifically designed for seniors. These steps will allow for safer driving and less risk for injury to occur.
With all the modern advances in medicine, there are a number of different ways to correct or accommodate to vision loss such as surgery, vitamin supplementation, medicated eye drops, corrective lenses, and much more. Many people do not realize all the options they have, nor do they realize the availability of the resources within their own community. The first step to take would be to contact your primary eye doctor and allow him or her to perform an eye exam to determine the extent or the presence of vision loss. They will be able to refer patients to specialists or provide treatments that will aid in everyday life with vision loss.
It is important to remember that vision loss is something that is not only happening to a select number of people, and that there are others out there with the same problem that you may be experiencing. There are numerous support groups that allow discussion of ways to experience everyday life joyfully while not being halted due to visual impairments. Vision is something that we as humans must use everyday to proceed with normal activities of daily living. Because normal aging causes defects that may affect our activities of daily living it is important to ensure that the environment you surround yourself in is safe and allows you to complete tasks efficiently and safely.
POST-TEST: Answer the following questions that were listed at the beginning of the presentation using the information displayed.
1) What condition is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly population? The leading cause of vision loss in the elderly population is Age Related Macular Degeneration
2) True or False: many of the leading eye diseases do not show early symptoms. This answer is true, because almost all vision loss eye diseases do not show early symptoms, and instead are not diagnosed until later in the disease process.
3) What is the most common self imposed risk older adults with vision loss experience? The most common self imposed risk older adults with vision loss experience is driving a motor vehicle, especially during the night time.
American Optometric Association. (2017). Adult Vision: Over 60 Years of Age. Retrieved March 05, 2017, from http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/adult-vision-19-to-40-years-of-age/adult-vision-over-60-years-of-age?sso=y
Horton, S., & Guly, C. (2017). Prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Prescriber, 28(1), 37-41. doi:10.1002/psb.1533
PELLETIER, A. L., ROJAS-ROLDAN, L., & COFFIN, J. (2016). Vision Loss in Older Adults. American Family Physician, 94(3), 219-226.