Warning Signs of a Serious Eye Problem for Seniors
Eye problems are a serious concern, especially as you grow older. Millions of people in the United States struggle with vision impairment, and a great number of those individuals are over the age of 65. Research shows that regular care can reduce eye problems by as much as 50 percent.
Many older adults do not seek access to eye care, even when experiencing symptoms of serious eye problems. This is because many eye problems do not cause symptoms in the earliest stages of disease, or, when symptoms do appear, they may seem insignificant or irrelevant. Left untreated, these conditions often worsen to cause permanent vision loss.
Flashing lights, floaters, and gray shadows
Sudden onset of flashing lights and floaters may be a sign of a serious condition like retinal detachment, condition where the light-sensitive area in the back of the eye pulls away from the underlying support tissue. Seeing a gray shadow in your peripheral vision or a gray curtain moving across your field of vision is another sign that retinal detachment is about to occur – seek medical help immediately to reduce the risk for permanent vision loss.
Sudden vision loss could indicate macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 65, or glaucoma. Loss of vision, especially if it occurs suddenly or affects just one eye, could also be a sign that you are about to have stroke.
One red eye
Two red eyes are probably not as serious as just one red eye. Two red eyes are most likely the result of a cold or conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, which go away by themselves. One red eye is a sign of deep inflammation, which can occur on the outer, protective layer of the eye or in the middle coating of the eyeball.
Most eye diseases are painless, but a few conditions can cause discomfort. Eye pain may be the result of glaucoma, dry eye, injury, a scratched cornea, or, rarely, cancer of the eye. Seek help if pain or redness from an eye injury does not subside within 15 to 20 minutes.
Regular eye exams are the best way to ensure your vision lasts a lifetime. Schedule regular checkups with your eye doctor and seek medical attention right away if you suffer sudden changes to your vision. Contact your local home care agency for more information on ways to protect your precious sight.