Vision is one of the most treasured senses, and yet, as a family caregiver, care of the eyes can often be overlooked when faced with the myriad of needs and concerns that often arise as your parent ages. But once vision has been lost, there may be little anyone can do to restore it. In light of this and all the beauty that this sense provides, here are a few caregiver reminders on how to help your parent care for their aging eyes.
Damage created by UV radiation results in several diseases that can, ultimately, lead to blindness or severe loss of vision. It can lead to macular degeneration—the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults in America. It can also cause certain types of cataracts. Ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses and a brimmed hat when you are out in the sun for any extended length of time. When purchasing protective lenses for your parent, consider the following:
- Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the UV rays or UV absorption up to 400nm.
- Wraparound glasses prevent UV radiation from entering from the sides of the eyes.
- If your loved one lives by the water or in snow country, consider polarized lenses that will cut reflective glare.
Like the rest of the body, diet and exercise play key roles in the health of the eyes. Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis all have the ability to affect one’s eyesight, and all can be controlled, to a certain extent, through diet and exercise.
Foods to include in your parent’s diet include an abundance of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in the tissues of the eye and are important nutrients for eye health. Julie Mares, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin reported to Nutrition Action, “There’s strong, compelling evidence for a potential protective effect of these carotenoids. They’re nutritional powerhouses.” Foods rich in these “powerhouses” are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli and Swiss chard.
Exercise that supports good eye health includes low-impact aerobic activity that increases oxygen levels and blood flow such as walking, swimming and biking. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Several studies over the last 10 years have found connections between regular exercise and reducing risks for several common eye ailments such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.”
The Eye Doctor.
Several chronic conditions can lead to loss of vision. These include glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. If discovered early, there are treatments that can slow down the progression of these diseases. Most have no early warning signs or symptoms, leaving the only method of discovery yearly comprehensive eye exams. Be sure to put a visit to your parent’s ophthalmologist on their yearly check-up list.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from caregiver services in Vallejo, CA, contact the caregivers at A Better Living Home Care Agency. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care. Call 925-566-2366 for more information.