Top 5 Causes of Blindness in Elderly People

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Causes of Blindness in Elderly People in Toronto, ON

 

According to statistics from the National Federation of the Blind, almost three million people over the age of 65 have some form of visual disability, which equates to approximately one out of every three seniors. Understanding the following causes of blindness can help you provide better care for your senior loved one with impaired vision.

1. Cataracts

A cataract is a condition that causes a dense, cloudy area to form in the eye lens, and it occurs because of eye proteins that form clumps and eventually obstruct vision. Cataracts can develop on their own, or they may be a secondary condition related to another disease. When cataracts grow severe enough to interfere with normal daily activities, surgery is available to remove them. 

Seniors who have surgery to remove cataracts may find daily tasks challenging as they recover, and a professional caregiver can be a great asset. The type of elder care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The macula is a part of the eye that helps people see fine details. When macular degeneration occurs, the cells in the macula begin to die, leading to central vision loss. There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. In wet macular degeneration, blood vessels form under the macula and retina, which causes a dark spot to appear in the center of the eye. In dry macular degeneration, small deposits called drusen form under the macula, causing blurred central vision. Though there’s no cure for macular degeneration, there are medications to slow its progress, and vision therapy can help seniors address vision loss.

3. Diabetic Retinopathy

Seniors living with diabetes have an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are uncontrolled. High blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels that supply the retina with blood. When these become damaged, leaks or swelling can occur, which in turn affects vision. If diabetic retinopathy isn’t treated, the eyes eventually grow new blood vessels, which typically grow through the center of the retina and cause blindness. Maintaining control of blood sugar levels and getting annual exams to screen for diabetic retinopathy are crucial to catching the condition in its early stages, when it’s often treatable with laser technology. 

Some seniors with diabetes may find it challenging to manage their blood sugar levels on their own. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Toronto, Ontario, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disorder that occurs when the fluid pressure in the eyes slowly increases over time. As the pressure increases, it damages the eye’s optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting information to the brain. When the optic nerve becomes damaged, partial or total vision loss often occurs. Though there’s no cure for glaucoma, eye drops and/or surgery can slow or halt vision loss. Early detection is critical for treatment to be effective, so it’s important to stay on top of regular vision exams.

5. Strokes

If a blood clot travels through the body into the brain, it cuts off the vital blood supply and oxygen the brain needs to function properly. This condition is known as a stroke. An estimated two-thirds of people experience issues with their vision after having strokes, and many of these people have some form of vision loss. The location of the blood clot in the brain determines what type of vision loss is experienced. A blood clot in the left hemisphere of the brain affects the right eye, and a blood clot in the right hemisphere affects the left eye. Visual restoration therapy can help stroke survivors regain all or part of their sight.Blindness can have a major effect on seniors’ ability to perform everyday tasks on their own, but help is just a phone call away. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Toronto senior home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. If you need compassionate professional home care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777.

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