Often people assume that as you age your vision decreases; it’s just a part of getting old, right? However, the truth is that with proper care and maintenance seniors can hold on to their vision much longer than they may expect and while some change of vision is expected with aging it’s not always a matter of complete loss or change that highly affects their quality of life.
There is a huge correlation between vision and quality of life in seniors. As one can imagine, changing & loss of vision means having to change your lifestyle in many ways.
- Loss of Driving License – loss or changes in vision can cause loss of or limitations put on your driving license. Becoming dependent upon public transportation can become confusing & even frightening as an elderly person; relying upon friends & family restricts your ability to leave whenever you want & keeps you dependent upon others to provide rides to appointments and shopping.
- Night Vision is Decreased – when night vision is decreased it forces seniors to either remain inside much more often; especially during the winter season, and avoid being out in the evenings. If they aren’t able to drive in the evening they become dependent upon others for transportation or often chose to not participate in events they would normally enjoy participating in, just because the darkness.
- Social Life is Affected – the loss of vision can change how you interact with others. Loss of your vision can make activities such as playing games, cards, and even watching television difficult.
- Reading – for those who enjoy reading, the loss of your eyesight can be extremely hard. Whether it’s enjoying a book, a magazine or the daily paper; when you lose the ability to read you lose a part of your character and an activity that can fill hours in a day or comfort on a night you can’t sleep
The importance of keeping your eyesight well maintained cannot be more important as we age; since our eyes are more susceptible to vision changes and problems. However, aging does not mean we have to accept giving up the things we love in order to accommodate the changes in our eyesight.
- Get regular vision checks
- Utilize local clinics & programs such as EyeCare America if you are unable to afford regular eye care
- Notice even small changes in your vision & bring them to the attention of your physician
- If you EVER feel uncomfortable driving because of your eyesight – Please let your physician, friends or family know & stop driving for your own safety & the safety of others
- There are caregivers available to drive you, on your needed schedule to appointments, shopping or even social outings to keep you active
- Ask social workers, pharmacies and your local welfare offices if they know of programs that will help you pay for vision checkups, new glasses, prescriptions for eye problems, & new prescription lenses
- Don’t miss eye drops and medications for your vision – if you find you have trouble affording them tell your doctor or pharmacist
Your quality of life can definitely be affected by your ability to see well. It’s important that you take the steps needed to not only ensure your vision lasts as long as possible but it remains as good as possible as you age. You deserve to have a quality of life that encompasses all of the things you enjoy doing that involve proper eyesight.
Photo by The U.S. National Archives