Old man getting eye test

Some of the eye conditions your residents are at risk of developing

Unfortunately, along with the rest of our bodies the ageing process can also have a negative impact on our eyesight. As we age we become more susceptible to certain eye conditions. However the majority of these problems have no symptoms so your residents may not even realise that they have one.

Below is a list of the eye conditions commonly associated with the elderly:

A cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye. Symptoms can include a reduction in vision, blurred sight, halo’s around lights, loss or darkening of colour and can cause vision to become misty. Cataract surgery is a common procedure where the affected lens is replaced with a clear one. Without surgery a cataract can cause blindness.
Glaucoma is when fluid pressure builds in the eye. Peripheral vision loss is often the first indication of glaucoma, however symptoms don’t often appear until the condition has developed. Loss of vision due to glaucoma is irreversible but can be prevented if eye pressure is monitored and managed. As well as the elderly being at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, so are those of African, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit or Scandinavian decent.

MD occurs when the macula (the small central part of the retina) degenerates. It can cause distorted vision such as straight lines looking crooked, as well as dim spots in the centre of vision and loss or dimming of colour. There are two types of MD; the dry form and the wet form. Most suffer from the dry form which is less serious, but often leads to the wet form eventually. There is no cure for MD but treatment can delay or reduce symptom severity.
Diabetic Retinopathy is common amongst those with diabetes. It occurs when the blood vessels in the retina begin to leak, swell and cause brush like branches as a result of high blood glucose levels. The longer someone suffers from diabetes, the higher their chances of developing retinopathy. Untreated, retinopathy can lead to irreversible blindness. Research has found that the majority of cases of diabetic retinopathy could have been prevented with proper treatment and regular monitoring. Medical attention should be sought immediately if any of the following symptoms occur: black spots, flashes of light, ‘holes’ in vision, blurred or reduced vision.
The eye depends on a constant flow of tears to keep the eye comfortable and maintain good vision. When an imbalance in the production of tears is present dry eye can occur. An imbalance can be due to a number of reasons such as ageing, medication and air conditioning. Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity, a gritty sensation, itching, redness and blurring of vision. Dry eye can be successfully treated in the majority of cases.
Conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed, causing the white of the eye to go red. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergies and irritants (such as shampoo) and can result in redness in the white of the eye or the inner eyelid, increased amount of tears, yellow or white discharge from the eye and itchy and burning eyes. Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious but can be treated.
Bletharitis is when the eyelids become inflamed. The condition is usually caused by excess bacteria on the skin and in some cases allergies. It can cause the eyelids to become red, itchy, swollen and appear scaly at the base of the lashes. As the condition worsens the eyes can become more irritated and crusts will form and cause the eyes to stick together. This can lead to a gritty sensation in the eyes. Bletharitis can be controlled by keeping the eyes hygienic.
You know better than anyone that the elderly are notorious for being reluctant to complain when they’re having difficulties with something. It is therefore extremely important that you monitor them closely for behaviour that could indicate a problem with their vision (such as falling and bumping into things).

The best way you can ensure that your residents’ eyes are in the best health at all times is to provide them with a thorough eye examination at least once a year. By visiting each of your residents I am able to detect and monitor any eye conditions that they may be suffering from. I can then offer effective treatments and provide you with lots of great information about helping keep your service user comfortable and happy.