Age-Related Vision Loss

Vision loss is a prevalent concern among seniors and can significantly impact their independence and quality of life. Understanding the causes, types, symptoms, and available treatment options is crucial for effectively managing age-related vision loss in older adults.
older woman with age-related vision loss

What Causes Vision Loss with Age?

Several factors can contribute to vision loss in seniors, including:
  • Presbyopia: The loss of ability to see close objects or small print. Development of presbyopia is a normal process that happens slowly over a lifetime. Many people notice gradual changes after age 35 or 40. People with presbyopia often hold reading materials at arm’s length. Some people get headaches or “tired eyes” while reading or doing other close work. Vision can be improved with reading glasses or multifocal (bifocal) lenses if you have presbyopia.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): A leading cause of vision loss among older adults, AMD affects the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision.
  • Cataracts: Clouding of the lens in the eye, leading to blurred vision and decreased visual acuity.
  • Glaucoma: Damage to the optic nerve, often associated with elevated intraocular pressure, can result in peripheral vision loss and, if left untreated, complete blindness.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision impairment or blindness if not managed.
  • Retinal Detachment: When the retina separates from the underlying tissue, it can cause sudden and severe vision loss.
  • Dry Eyes: Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning or even some loss of vision when tear glands can’t make enough tears or produce poor quality tears.
older adult male suffering from age-related vision loss

Different Types of Vision Loss in Seniors

Age-related vision loss can manifest in different forms, including:
  • Central vision loss: Impairment in the ability to see objects directly in front, affecting tasks such as reading or recognizing faces.
  • Peripheral vision loss: Decreased ability to see objects at the edges of the visual field, resulting in reduced spatial awareness.
  • Night blindness: Difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, making it challenging to navigate in the dark.

What are the Signs of Vision Loss?

Signs and symptoms of vision loss in seniors can vary depending on the underlying cause:
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Loss of visual acuity
  • Loss of color perception
  • Difficulty seeing in low-light conditions
  • Loss of contrast sensitivity
  • Seeing floaters or flashes of light
  • Redness, pain, or pressure in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to glare or bright light

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Breast cancer screenings check breast tissue for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Checking the breast can be done by a clinical breast exam in which a senior health provider or nurse examines the breast by using their hands to feel for lumps or other changes. In addition, self-breast exams are encouraged to be performed for all adult women of all ages at least once per month. A diagnostic test used for screening breast cancer is mammography. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) now recommends that all women get screened every other year starting at age 40 and continuing to 74 years. There is currently no recommendation for screening in women 75 years and older should decide with their provider for senior-focused healthcare provider what is best for their individual needs.

1

Breast Ultrasound

A machine that uses sound waves to make pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.

2

Diagnostic Mammogram

If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, your healthcare provider may recommend a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.

3

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast

4

Biopsy

A test that removes a sample of tissue or fluid from the breast to be examined under a microscope. There are different kinds of biopsies (for example, fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, or open biopsy).

Age-Related Vision Loss Treatment Options

Regular eye examinations are essential for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of eye conditions that can lead to vision loss. Treatment options for vision loss in senior healthcare depend on the underlying condition.

Medications

In some cases, medications can help slow the progression or manage the symptoms of certain eye conditions.

Surgery or Laser Surgery

Cataract removal surgery or retinal detachment repair can often restore vision to some degree. Laser treatment may be used to manage conditions such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.

Low Vision Aids

Devices like magnifiers, telescopic lenses, or CCTVs can help seniors maximize their remaining vision.

Vision Rehabilitation

Through specialized programs, individuals can learn adaptive techniques, skills, and strategies to enhance their independence and quality of life.

Age-Related Vison Loss Treatment and Prevention

Vision loss is a significant concern among seniors, affecting their daily activities and overall well-being. By understanding the causes, types, symptoms, and available treatment options, individuals and their caregivers can better navigate the challenges associated with vision loss. Regular eye examinations, early intervention, and appropriate management strategies are crucial in optimizing visual function and maintaining a high quality of life for seniors. At Greater Good Health, we address age-related vision loss through senior primary care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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Our Age-Related Vision Loss Services

Explore our age-related vision loss treatment and prevention services for older adults. Discover how our senior primary care services prioritize the overall wellbeing of out patients, including their eye health.