senior_health - Lions Clubs International

Lions Clubs International Foundation
Women’s Eye
Eye Health for Seniors:
Your Aging Eyes and
Clear Vision for Life
Attention Seniors:
• By age 65, one in three Americans have
some vision-impairing eye disease
• Most don’t know it—often there are no
early warning signs
• Poor sight is not a natural part of aging
• You can take measures to preserve your
• Have eye disease detected and treated early
• Visit an eye doctor at least every 1-2 years
Did you know that:
• Three-fourths (75%) of all blindness
and vision impairment is either
preventable or treatable
• The same good health habits that
protect your heart and lungs also
help your eyes
• It is never too late to take care of your
Importance of Good
Vision for Seniors
• Independence: working, driving and cooking
• Quality of life: reading, watching TV and
seeing grandchildren
• Mental health: less isolation and
• Physical health: fewer falls, which
could lead to bone fractures
Age-related Eye
Conditions More
Common in Seniors:
Dimming of vision
Dry eye
AMD (age-related
Aging: What most
seniors can expect
• Diminished ability to focus on near
• Happens to nearly everyone
• Often first noticed between ages 40-50
• Typically results in the need for reading
glasses or bifocals
What to do
• Make sure your eyeglasses are
correct for both distance and
• Visit an eye-care professional at
least every two years
• For convenience, buy several pairs
of inexpensive reading glasses
Dimmer vision
Caused by:
• Slight loss of retinal
• Beginning cataract(s)
Dimmer Vision:
What to do
• Use brighter lighting for reading
• For safety, make sure your home is
well lit
• See your eye doctor if there is a
sudden loss of vision
Caused by eye’s lens becoming opaque
Nearly everyone will have them by age 90
Smoking increases incidence of some types
Symptoms include:
1. Dark, fuzzy vision even with glasses
2. Glare
3. Halos around bright lights (dangerous for
What to do
• When your eye doctor thinks your
cataract(s) are “ripe” have them
removed surgically
• This is a very common, simple and
successful procedure
• Surgery involves implanting an artificial
lens (No more “coke-bottle” glasses)
Dry Eye
• Very prevalent in people over 55
• Two-to-three times more common in
• Caused by insufficient tears or by eyelid
• Persistently painful, stinging or itchy
• Causes much suffering
• Sometimes leads to serious infection
Dry Eye:
What to do
Artificial tears are mainstay of treatment
Try different eye drops to find best for you
Eye ointment at bedtime may help
Avoid wind, smoke and very dry rooms
See an eye doctor if the condition persists
Blinding Diseases
Very serious—requires medical care:
• Glaucoma
• Diabetic retinopathy
Macular Degeneration
• Leading cause of blindness and irreversible
vision loss in seniors
• Gradually destroys central retina (macula)
needed for sharp vision
• Three times more common in smokers
• Late stage has two forms: “dry” and “wet”
• Wet form caused by leaky blood vessels behind
AMD Symptoms
• Experience no pain
• Blurred central vision, even with glasses
• Later symptom includes dark or empty
area in center of vision
• In “wet” form, straight lines appear curved
AMD: What to do
• Don’t smoke
• To monitor deposits behind retina,
get a comprehensive eye exam, with
dilated pupils, at least every 2 years
• New treatment for wet form can stop
and sometimes reverse disease
• This involves injections into eye to
stop growth of new vessels
• Called “silent thief of sight” (no symptoms
until permanent damage done)
• Gradually destroys optic nerve
• Peripheral (side) vision lost first
• Essential for seniors to have comprehensive
eye exam at least every 1-2 years
What to do
Get periodic eye exam, with dilated pupils
(drops) at least every 1-2 years
This detects glaucoma before any damage
sets in
Prescription eye drops usually halt disease
May require trial of different types of drops
If necessary, a simple surgery can increase
fluid flow out of eye
Diabetic Retinopathy
• Serious complication of diabetes
• Technically not age-related
• Increases with duration of diabetes,
hence, with age
• Leaky blood vessels inside retina
• Distorted and lost vision near leaks
Diabetic Retinopathy:
What to do
• Best to prevent diabetes in the first place
• Diabetes is related to obesity, so maintain a
healthy weight
• If you have diabetes, be under the care of
an eye doctor (visit at least once a year)
• If retinal hemorrhage occurs, get laser
treatment quickly—this usually saves sight
Low-vision Aids
If you have lost considerable vision
from eye disease, don’t lose hope
“Low vision” is 20/200 (with
glasses) or worse, but it is not
Go to an optometrist who
specializes in low-vision aids
Low-vision aids can help you
resume normal activities
Types of
Low-vision Aids
Can be as simple as:
• Magnifying glass
• Large-print books and clocks
• Electronic magnifiers for books and TV
• Special eyeglasses to allow driving
Why should I see
an eye doctor?
• Diagnose glaucoma before there
is irreversible vision loss
• Make sure eyeglasses are correct
• Treat cataracts, AMD and diabetic
retinopathy in a timely manner
When should I see an
ophthalmologist or
• All seniors, at least every 1- 2 years
• More often if you have:
An eye disease
Family history of serious eye disease
An autoimmune disease (like Sjögren’s or
MS) that can affect the eye
A sudden change in vision
What you can do
to keep clear
vision for life
Make sure your home is well lit
Keep your eyeglasses up-to-date
See an eye doctor regularly
If you smoke, try to stop
Maintain a healthy weight
Be eye smart!
It’s largely up to you
to maintain your eye
health – be proactive!
To learn more, visit:
Presented by:
Lions Clubs International Foundation
working in partnership with
Women’s Eye
to prevent blindness
Funded through a Lions Clubs International
Foundation SightFirst grant.
For more information please visit and

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