Vision Changes in Our Senior Years

Vision-Changes-to-Watch-Out-for-as-You-Grow-Older-300x266I always had perfect vision. I remember when my Mom started asking me to thread the needle on her sewing machine because she couldn’t see right to do it anymore. Now I have my grandkids do the same thing for me. My sister and brother started wearing glasses when they turned 40. I couldn’t imagine myself ever needing them, but 40 seemed to be the magic number for me too. What I found out through my research is that most of us develops this condition around the age of 40. It’s called Presbyopia. It’s when the normal flexible lens of the eye becomes increasingly rigid and unable to focus on objects close up.

I started off with reading glasses. By the time I was about 45 I started noticing that the signs along the road were starting to get blurry now too. So, I went from reading glasses to bifocals. With my check-up each year I’d only see a slight change, and about every two or three years I’d need a new prescription. When I got in my middle 50’s I started noticing that I was getting night blindness when I’d drive, and if it was raining at night I couldn’t see at all. The doctor said I had cataracts but they weren’t ripe enough to operate on yet. Eventually I had the surgery when I was 63. I was so hoping I wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore, like many of the people I knew, but I still needed them for distance. I can drive at night without any trouble now though. One of the other conditions I get is dry eyes especially when I’m working on the computer a lot with my writing. Eye drops help that. These are all the typical eye disorders that come with age.

The diseases that can happen are more serious:

  • Age-related macular degeneration-it’s leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. It’s caused from damage to the macula area on the retina, and area that makes clearly defined, central vision possible.
  • Glaucoma-is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It’s caused by an abnormal rise in pressure in the fluid-filled chambers of the eyes, damaging the optic nerve.

This is why it’s so important to have regular eye check-ups.

The other thing that happens is the reduced muscle tone around the eyes. The muscles that support the skin around the eye socket and control the upper and lower eyelids sometimes become so relaxed and weak that they lose their firmness and elasticity. I remember many years ago when I worked as a bank teller. I had this dear older lady who would come to my window. The skin above her eyelids hung so heavy you could barely see her eyes. As she struggles to sign her check I wanted to reach over and hold her eyelids up so she could see what she was doing better. In later years my Dad’s eyes got the same way, not as bad but bad enough that he was starting to have more trouble seeing. His ophthalmologists sent for an eye tuck, and it was nice to be able to see his deep blue eyes again. I may have to have the same thing done someday. It’s a condition called blepharoptosis or ptosis and along with not being able to see well it causes headache and fatigue.

A good healthy diet, using brighter lights and regular checkups are the ways to stay ahead of some of these disorder and diseases. I’ll leave you some links with more detailed information. That way you can read them at your own convince.

Remember being informed is the best way you can be your own advocate for a health life.

https://www.sharecare.com/health/eye-vision-health/article/aging-eye

pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2418/T-2140web.pdf

https://www.consultgeri.org/geriatric-topics/sensory-changes

A special note: Due to it being summer and the many commitments I have right now. I will not be posting my blog on a weekly basis anymore. I will still be posting, from time though. I do enjoy sharing with you the things I learn as I search for the answers to my own questions about aging.

Thank you…Connie

“Our Aging Senses”

Frogs

When I was growing up, I was taught to be mindful of my surrounds to see, hear and speak no evil. My senses were sharp and quick back then. Now that I’ve gotten older I don’t have to put my hands over my eyes and ears, but maybe keeping them over my mouth isn’t such a bad idea. I often don’t hear half of what’s said. That, in turn, tends to distort what I think I see also. What slips out of my mouth is a distortion of my senses.

“What’s that? Did you say, Pat’s getting fat?”

“No! I said that’s a great hat!”

My Dad was an expert in this department, and he would come out with the funniest things he thought he’d heard. He’d have us all laughing and got a kick out it as much as we did. Now I do the same thing. Being able to laugh along with everyone else is a good thing. But it’s not always funny and sometimes even embarrassing. Worst of all it can be quite isolating.

I bring the topic of our 5-senses up because I’ve been hearing a lot of thought-provoking stories on the subject and how it relates to getting older. It is after all our hearing, vision, touch, taste and smell that gives us valuable information about our surroundings. One of the things I learned was that as we age our brains begin to shrink and that in turn makes our senses less sharp. That, in turn, makes it harder for us to detect the critical details that allow us to function socially as well as safe in the world. The more I reached the subject I realized I’d have to break this article up into sections. There is so much information about how each of our senses changes with age that I thought it was worth talking about one at a time.

When I have questions about the changes going on in my own life, I do my research. First, I’m looking to be informed. Second, I’m looking for solutions. If there are none, then I’ll find a way to live with it. It’s all about having the best quality of life and working with what we have. One thing I learned over the years caring for my loved ones was how vital it is to be informed but most of all to be the best advocate we can for ourselves.

So stay tuned, next week I’ll share what I’ve learned about hearing loss.