Seniors are at high risk for vision problems
Seniors are at a much higher risk for eye diseases and major vision problems because of their age. For example, glaucoma affects 1 in 10 people over 80. And even people with 20/20 vision can develop it.
Regular eye exams protect against vision loss
Because of their high risk, the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) recommends for older adults to get a comprehensive eye exam with dilation every 1 – 2 years.
Regular eye exams help protect vision because problems can be detected early — exams at the express eyeglasses store at the mall don’t count! If an eye disease is found, proper treatment can be started early to prevent major vision loss.
Keeping your senior’s eyes healthy helps them stay independent, prevents falls, and lets them enjoy a variety of activities.
Financial help for eye care
Eye exams for seniors can be affordable. Many state and national resources help people with vision problems. The National Eye Institute has a list of organizations that provide financial help for:
- Eye exams
- Eye surgery
- Eye-related prescription drugs
- Eye-related government programs
Social workers at local hospitals or other community organizations are another source for help. They often know about local community resources that help people who have financial and medical problems.
What does a comprehensive eye exam include?
A comprehensive dilated eye exam has 4 parts.
- Dilation – Widening the pupils helps eye doctors see important tissues at the back of the eye, like the retina, the macula, and the optic nerve.
- Tonometry – A test that helps detect glaucoma by checking pressure inside the eye.
- Visual field test – This measures your side (peripheral) vision.
- Visual acuity test – A test where you read an eye chart, which helps eye doctors measure how well you see at different distances.
Saving your senior’s sight helps you both because good vision keeps them independent, prevents falls, and lets them enjoy a variety of activities. Don’t wait, schedule their comprehensive eye exam ASAP!
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