Majority of us would have the concept that poor vision is an inevitable part of aging. However, certain visual problems and eye diseases are preventable, and early detection can avoid the aggregation of the problem. Proper eye care helps to delay the incidence of certain eye diseases, and regular comprehensive eye examination is crucial for early detection of the problem and prevent irreversible vision loss. Preserving good vision can ensure the quality of life of the elderlies.
This is the condition which the crystalline lens becomes clouding and hazy. Subsequently, affecting vision by blocking and scattering light which enters the eye. The risk factors of cataract includes: age, long term exposure to sunlight (UV), diabetes, prolonged use of steroids, and smoking, etc. Cataract may lead to a reduction in contrast sensitivity, visual acuity and night vision. Elderlies with cataract are more likely to have an unstable prescription and wearing an appropriate spectacle prescription is crucial for maximising their vision.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macula is located at the central part of the retina and is responsible for fine detailed vision. AMD occurs when the macular undergoes degenerative changes. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people aged 65 and above. Age is the major risk factor, others include smoking, cholesterol problem and family history. Patients with AMD would experience blurry and distorted vision. Early detection of such problem is crucial for slowing down the degeneration process.
This is the condition which the optic nerve undergoes degenerative changes and causes visual field loss. Acute glaucoma is caused by the sudden elevation of intraocular pressure (the normal range is 10-21mmHg) and it causes severe pain, headache, blurry vision, redness and projectile vomiting. On the other hand, chronic glaucoma do not manifest any obvious symptoms in the early stage and it is often referred to as the ‘silent theft of sight’. Despite elevated intraocular pressure is one of the risk factors, it may occur even when the pressure is within the normal range. The neurological damage of the optic nerve is irreversible and regular eye examination is essential for early detection. Prompt treatment may slow down the degeneration and preserve the visual field.
It is known that Hyperglycemia, Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia would increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to the destructive impact on vessels. Our retina is full of small blood vessels, and they are also prone to damage from systemic diseases. Take Diabetic retinopathy as an example, it is one of the most devastating complications of diabetes. Although there may not be any noticeable symptoms in the early stage of diabetic retinopathy, minor changes in the retina are detectable during a comprehensive eye examination. Delayed diagnosis not only complicated the treatment, it also dramatically affect the quality of life of the individuals.
Research reported that the rate of fall in elderlies with blurred vision was 75% higher than those without blurred vision. Refractive error was the main cause of blurry vision in 30% of elderly aged 65. In view of that, wearing spectacles with appropriate prescription helps to reduce the rate of fall and enhance the quality of life of elderlies.