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How to Help Seniors with Their Vision

As individuals age, they are more susceptible to various health concerns, and vision issues are no exception. Many seniors experience a decline in visual acuity or develop eye diseases that can significantly impact their quality of life. In fact, according to the Alberta Association of Optometrists, 1 in 9 Canadians develop irreversible vision loss by the age of 65, which then increases to 1 in 4 by age 75. From difficulty seeing in dim light to an increased risk of falls and accidents, vision issues can introduce a wide range of problems and challenges for older adults. As such, below are several tips on how to help seniors with their vision.

Prepare eye-friendly food for their meals

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy vision, and seniors can benefit greatly from eye-friendly foods that help to support their eye health. By preparing meals packed with nutrients that support eye health, we can make a significant impact on the lives of seniors and help them maintain their quality of life. 

One of the most important nutrients for eye health is lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes from harmful light. They are found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. Another essential nutrient for eye health is omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines. These help support the structure of the eye. Eye-friendly foods also lessen the risk of developing eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration, which seniors are more susceptible to, making them an integral part of their eye care.

Provide proper lighting in their living space

Proper lighting not only helps seniors see better, but it also has a significant impact on their overall well-being. Good lighting can improve mood, reduce eyestrain, and enhance the overall comfort and safety of their living space. Additionally, it can facilitate the performance of daily activities such as reading, cooking, and grooming, all of which are essential for seniors to maintain their independence and quality of life.

There are various ways to ensure proper lighting in senior living spaces. One of the most effective approaches is to increase the amount of natural light in the room. This can be achieved by removing heavy curtains or blinds and keeping windows clean and unobstructed. Natural light is not only beneficial for vision but also has a positive effect on mental and emotional health.

Ensure access to proper corrective eyewear

Prescription eyewear, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, are essential tools for correcting vision problems and improving overall visual acuity. For seniors, these visual aids can make a world of difference in helping them navigate their daily lives with comfort and independence.

However, as many seniors may only be familiar with their typical prescription glasses, it is helpful to introduce them to other more nuanced corrective eyewear options. For starters, in line with a 2024 Global News report on increasing screen time among Canadian seniors, it pays to introduce older adults to blue light-filtering eyewear. Unlike regular lenses, blue light glasses use a special coating that effectively blocks out harmful blue-violet light from natural and artificial sources. Overexposure to blue light has been known to cause issues like vision straining, fatigue, and more. Apart from this, older adults can benefit from being encouraged to wear UV-blocking sunglasses. Since the eyes become more photosensitive with age, these protective glasses can prevent sun damage.

Encourage the use of lubricating eye drops

As people age, the eyes produce fewer tears, leading to dry eyes, which can cause discomfort and blurry vision. Eye drops help to lubricate the eyes and provide relief from dryness, irritation, and redness. However, for many seniors, using eye drops can be a challenging task. Their hands may not be as steady, and they may have difficulty aiming the drops into their eyes. This is why learning how to administer eye drops can be beneficial for carers, as this means they can safely and confidently help seniors. This includes knowing the right dose and proper hygiene. In both cases, a physician or ophthalmologist can offer guidance, which can also put the older adult at ease.

Aside from this, it is important to help seniors understand the importance of using eye drops regularly. Many may be unaware of the benefits of eye drops or may be hesitant to use them due to fear or discomfort. Taking the time to explain the benefits and reassure them often alleviates any concerns they may have.

Mollie Nolan is a full-time writer with a career spanning over two decades. When she’s not contributing to different publications, she works to advocate better public health and community services. Mollie is currently working on her personal blog, which she hopes to launch in the near future.

Photo: Marcus Aurelius

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