Minor Vision problems can occur at any age, especially for those who spend a lot of time staring at a computer or cell phone screen. Between video games, computers, smartphones, and tablets, eye strain has become an increasingly common issue for kids and adults alike.
But as we grow older, there can be additional vision issues that develop more frequently. Knowing what symptoms indicate a more serious problem is important for seniors and their adult children.
National Glaucoma Month
January is National Glaucoma Month. This eye disease is often referred to as a “sneaky vision thief” because there are very few symptoms until later in the disease. But one of the earliest signs of glaucoma is a serious one: loss of peripheral vision.
Having an annual eye exam is the best way to detect the presence of glaucoma early.
Unlike glaucoma, other vision problems common among seniors do come with early warning signs.
If you or a loved one notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor or visit your local emergency department:
- "Floaters” in one eye is often an early warning sign of a detached retina, as are sudden bursts of light or color. This condition requires immediate medical intervention to prevent eye loss. Seniors who have had cataracts removed have a higher risk for a detached retina.
- Sudden blurry vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes can also be an indicator of a serious problem. It is one of the classic signs of a stroke and should never be ignored. Call 911 immediately and tell the emergency dispatcher that you think you or your loved one is having a stroke. Don’t wait to see if the condition resolves on its own. Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability among older adults. If it is a stroke, every minute counts. Read more about the warning signs of a stroke from the experts at the American Stroke Association.
- Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among seniors. Warning signs include trouble recognizing and distinguishing colors, difficult reading road signs, and a dark spot in the center of your vision.
- Blind spots in your line of vision can be caused by a variety of health problems. Two common ones are high blood pressure and diabetes. Both illnesses increase pressure on the blood vessels in the eye and the optic nerve. Left untreated, this can also lead to vision loss.
Two additional vision changes seniors encounter are halos and cloudiness. Older adults may know these as the symptoms of cataracts. Many people delay talking with their physician about it because they don’t think of cataracts as a serious health concern. But this is a myth—untreated cataracts can cause blindness.
Medicare and Vision Coverage
Some seniors delay visiting their eye doctor because of financial concerns. While it’s true that Medicare doesn’t pay for glasses, Medicare Part B does cover some routine screenings. Vision coverage typically extends to a yearly vision exam, as well as glaucoma and macular degeneration testing.
Visit Your Medicare Coverage: Eye Exams to learn more.
Supportive Environment for Adults with Vision Loss
Sunrise Senior Living communities are thoughtfully designed to accommodate the unique challenges of older adults with a focus on comfort and convenience. Seniors with vision loss will find safety is our primary concern, and we design living spaces that create a safe and supportive environment.
Many seniors face physical challenges like limited mobility, balance, sight and hearing. From hand rails and grab bars to assistance with the activities of daily living, we help adults with vision impairment live their best quality of life. The Sunrise team is committed to becoming your partner, your guide, and your trusted resource. Contact us or call 1-888-434-4648 to schedule a private visit!