The 'golden years of life' bring several changes in the visual function that have an impact on the 'QOL' (quality of life). It is imperative for every person to prepare for old age and its related challenges.
The 'golden rules of life'-regular sleep pattern, exercise, balanced diet, good hygiene, clean environment and spiritual inclination all help in leading a good quality life in senior years with minimal dependence on others. Let us understand and address some of the common age related issues.
Eyelids start drooping and one develops crows feet at the lid margins. The upper lid drooping along with loose skin may hamper vision and surgical shortening may be required. Lower lid drooping may cause tearing and eczematous inflammation of the lids. Lid closure exercise, wiping of tears towards nose and massage of lower lids inwards using a bland oil/cream may help. Surgery for a droopy or inward turning lower lid may be required some times.
The eye surface tends to get dry as the mucous secretion reduces. Lubricating eye drops without preservatives may be used frequently for comfort and clarity of vision. The frequency is determined by comfort levels with each drop. Direct exposure to sunlight and wind currents should be avoided. Use hats/caps/sunglasses for that extra comfort.
Cataract is an age related phenomenon which is eminently treatable by surgery and implantation of an artificial lens in place of the natural one that turns opaque. Multi-focal lenses, when indicated, can take away the need for corrective spectacles for most of the activities. Spectacle correction after surgery can also restore good vision.
Glaucoma, a disorder of optic nerve associated with high pressure in the eyes requires regular and meticulous instillation of eye drops. Surgery may be indicated when pressure control is not achieved with maximum medication or when medication is not possible due to some reasons.
Floaters are perceived by many people as the vitreous jelly turns into fluid. Examination of retina is mandatory to rule out any pathological changes that may warrant some intervention by lasers or surgery.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) causes a reduction in vision that cannot be improved by corrective lenses. People need special magnifiers, optical devices or computer screens for reading/ writing. Ultrasonic sensor guided sticks or even helmets help in moving around safely.
All these may get further aggravated by systemic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, senile tremors, dementia etc.
General Rules To Follow:
- Always read/write in adequate illumination, you need more light with each year passing. Natural light may be preferred if possible.
- Keep your spectacle lenses clean and scratch free
- Use bottle stabilization devices for instillation of eye drops in case of hand tremor otherwise seek help from people around
- Lubricate your eyes frequently with preservative free lubricating drops
- Use a walking stick for stability and confidence
- Nomination in legal papers should be done well in time as signature matching may become an issue
- Never feel shy to seek help from people around in case of a need as being safe is important
- Put anti skid mats in the wash rooms and bath rooms and illuminate all passages in the house brightly.
- Visit your doctor regularly