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Current Issue:

Helping seniors with vision problems

The second leading cause of irreversible blindness in the USA is glaucoma. The type we refer to here is Primary Open Angle Glaucoma. It is characterized by an increase in intraocular (eye) pressure, atrophy of the optic nerve and loss of peripheral vision. With these conditions present, vision is ultimately lost.

Risk factors include: high intraocular pressure, aging, gamily history and race. Blacks have a 3-4 time higher risk. In addition, diabetes, hypertension, eye injury or surgery, history of steroid uses, migraine headaches with peripheral vasospasm are all possible risk factors.

To help your loved one or clients with vision problems assist with the following:

Be certain the lighting is adequate for the senior. Low vision problems are responsible for many accidents in the home and adequate lighting is a large part of it. Replace burned out light bulbs with lights of the same wattage. Be sure stairs, closets and entry ways are illuminated. Outside lights should delineate paths, stairs and walks.

Task lighting is important for reading or hobbies. Seniors love to read the paper...be sure to have a magnifier or a magnifying lamp if needed. Loss of vision is such a heart break to so many seniors. Luckily, there is a great deal of research being done in the area of macular degeneration, one of the great robbers of eyesight in older individuals.