Researchers show that one of the leading causes of blindness in American seniors is due to an eye disease called glaucoma.
There are many aging adults that are in the late stages of the disease, which can have a serious impact on their vision and therefore their ability to take care of themselves, live independently at home and keep themselves safe and healthy. If an aging adult is suffering from glaucoma, it’s important for family caregivers and home care providers to assist in every way possible.
What is Glaucoma and Why is it Serious for Seniors?
Each eye has an optic nerve, which sends visual signals from the eyes to the brain for interpretation. Within the eyes is fluid, which normally maintains a neutral pressure. With glaucoma, the fluids don’t drain properly, and pressure builds up. This pressure can damage the nerves within the eye, leading to vision problems known as glaucoma.
Early symptoms of glaucoma are almost impossible for seniors to detect so it often goes undiagnosed and untreated for a long time. By the time they notice blurred vision, tunnel vision, and headaches, the disease has advanced to serious levels. However, eye doctors can spot early signs of glaucoma via several standard tests administered during a regular eye exam. This is why it is critical for family caregivers to get their elderly loved ones to an eye doctor at least annually.
The reason glaucoma is so serious for seniors is because, without proper treatment, glaucoma can lead to blindness. It’s much more difficult to cope with vision loss, so it’s extremely important that aging adults, family caregivers, and home care providers do everything they can to treat glaucoma, slow down the progress and do what it takes to manage the symptoms.
How Family Caregivers and Home Care Providers Help Seniors with Glaucoma
There is no cure for glaucoma, but with constant treatment, it’s possible for the symptoms to be under control and also to greatly reduce the risk of developing vision loss. Doctors prescribe medicated eye drops to help control the pressure in the eyes. Seniors need to take the drops regularly without fail. However, if they have health issues or memory problems, it can be hard to stay consistent. Family caregivers and home care provider can remind seniors to take their eye drops on time every time.
Another possible treatment for glaucoma includes laser surgery, where the doctor makes a small incision to drain eye fluid and relieve the pressure on the optic nerve. If the doctor recommends this step, family caregivers and home care providers must be there to support the aging adult every step of the way.
Finally, family caregivers and home care providers can help seniors manage their glaucoma by transporting them to the eye doctor regularly. Usually, an annual eye exam is sufficient, but some eye doctors might want to see seniors more frequently, such as every three or six months. Of course, the aging adult and their support group should comply with whatever the doctor recommends.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Berkeley, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
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