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Prevent Senior Blindness with Cataract Check

Seniors who have had surgery to correct cataracts have a greatly reduced risk of suffering hip fractures after a fall.

If a senior you know is experiencing blurred or double vision, or if he or she needs more light than usual to read, it may be time for a cataract exam. Cataracts are the most common eye disease in older adults, and the leading cause of blindness, with more than 2.5 million people in Canada struggling with it. Seeking treatment for the disease is the first step in preventing blindness.

Cataract describes a disorder where the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and blocks light from entering. While cataracts do not cause pain, redness, or tearing, they can be characterized by vision that is not corrected even with new eyeglass prescriptions, as well as by the blurred or double vision and need for more light mentioned earlier. Sometimes it is also possible to see the cloudiness of the lens.

Symptoms can include:

  • Sensitivity to bright light or experiencing glares and haloes around lights
  • Difficulty seeing details and poor central vision
  • An inability to distinguish colours
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Double vision

While doctors do not know what causes cataract, aside from the natural effects of aging, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk for acquiring this disorder, including the following:

  • Age
  • Family History
  • Other health problems – complications such as diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Medications
  • Eye injury (puncture, cut, intense heat or chemical burn to the eye)

Seniors can help protect their eyesight and vision by eliminating risk factors such as smoking, eating a diet high in leafy green vegetables, and exercising. Getting regular eye examinations will also allow doctors to identify cataracts early and take the appropriate measures to treat and prevent blindness attributable to the disorder. Very often, this remedy entails surgery. Cataract surgery is a very common procedure, with a success rate of over 95%. It removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial one. Recovery from surgery usually takes a matter of days, but it may take as long as a month for the eye to heal.

Families who are concerned about their senior loved ones during recovery after cataract surgery may want to consider hiring a professional caregiver who can help with daily activities. Caregivers can take over some of the daily living tasks, such as light housekeeping and meal preparation, and can help the senior get around with mobility assistance and transportation to appointments and events. For more information on how in-home care can help an individual after cataract surgery, contact your local Comfort Keepers® office today.

References

  • CNIB. Cataracts. Retrieved from http://www.cnib.ca/en/your-eyes/eye-conditions/cataracts/pages/default.aspx
  • Prevent Blindness. (May 22, 2013 ). Cataract Awareness Month: Vision loss from leading cause of blindness can be restored with proper treatment. Retrieved from http://www.preventblindness.org/cataract-awareness-month.

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