Visual decline is something that most seniors expect. However, many do not have an eye exam as often as they should. All About Vision notes that those over the age of 61 should visit their eye doctor at least once each year. Doing so can help identify issues that could impact everything from mood and headaches to the ability to drive.
To help you understand the importance of vision health, Bemidji Senior Center shares the following guidance.
Vision care cost
One reason that many seniors do not have an eye exam is cost. Although Original Medicare does offer some limited vision benefits, most seniors wind up paying out-of-pocket.
It costs as much as $200 for an initial eye exam, and that does not include any additional tests needed or corrective lenses. This is a significant sum for seniors on a limited income.
Many Medicare Advantage plans, however, can help offset these expenses, and the vast majority of them offer comprehensive coverage even for significant vision problems.
How vision affects quality of life
Financial burden aside, failure to take care of vision problems early can result in a host of quality-of-life issues. For one, according to Harvard Health Publishing, vision decline can actually instigate or worsen cognitive dysfunction. This can make it more difficult — and unsafe — to operate an automobile, which can reduce the senior’s ability to enjoy life.
Falling is another safety concern when it comes to vision problems. Conditions such as poor depth perception, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy can make navigating uneven surfaces, such as stairs, a challenge. Falling accidents are the number one cause of injuries in older adults, and even accidents that might be considered minor for a young adult can permanently disable a senior. Delayed reaction times, thinner skin, and impaired mobility are other factors that determine a senior’s risk of falling and sustaining a serious injury.
Seniors who enjoy reading may also find it less pleasurable if eyestrain leads to headaches. YourSightMatters.com notes that common symptoms of eyestrain include dry eyes, headache, sensitivity to light, and double vision. Much of this can be relieved by using the right type of light, switching to books with larger print, using a blue light device cover for ebook reading, switching to books with larger print and readers.
Depression and vision decline
Psychiatry Advisor asserts that mood disturbances are common in seniors with declining vision. And, it is not difficult to understand why changing vision can affect mood.
In this population, the risk of depression is greater than those who do not have vision loss – 57.2 percent versus 43.5 percent, respectively.
People who maintain vision care schedules are less likely to suffer the ill effects of visual impairment as they have an opportunity to correct infractions and make adjustments to compensate for decline.
Supplements for vision
Eating a healthy diet can help promote healthy vision. However, sometimes we don’t get the vitamins we need, which is where supplements come in. According to The Thirty, there is a wide range of vitamins that can help care for your vision, though it’s important to always read the labels and follow the instructions carefully. You should also consult with your physician before taking any supplements, especially if you’re already on medication.
The ability to see is something that many people take for granted until it begins to falter. But for seniors, maintaining a relationship with a qualified eye care specialist is crucial to safety and quality of life. And despite Medicare’s limited benefits, there are healthcare plans available that make vision care affordable. Remember, sight is not a luxury but a crucial function of the human body that plays a significant role in the quality of life for those in the 65-and-up crowd.
For more health-minded content, check out the other articles on Healthybodyathome.
Guest author bio
Alice Robertson enjoys keeping a tidy home, like many homeowners.
She specializes in home organization, whether it’s decluttering to prepare for a move, deep cleaning for company, a dinner party, or an open house, or simply cleaning up the chaos of everyday life.
She created this site to offer tips and tricks to help you achieve organizational bliss.