How to prevent eye damage in seniors
Those of us in the age 40+ demographic know how it feels to start to struggle with small print, finding the need to start wearing reading glasses, increasing the font size on our electronic devices, or holding books at arm’s length to attempt to minimize blurring. Getting older and becoming challenged with vision changes frequently go hand in hand, but a problem that’s lesser known for seniors is the increased potential for eye damage or injury.
During Eye Injury Prevention Month this July, it’s an ideal time to take a closer look at taking preventative steps. It may surprise you to discover that hospitalizations due to eye trauma in individuals over age 65 is more and more common from an unexpected source: falls. In fact, a recent report estimates that seniors who had fallen accounted for 82% of the 18% rise in eye injury hospitalizations during the period 2001 – 2014. Not just that, but almost half of all eye injuries in seniors occur where they should be safest: right at home.
And, it is a vicious cycle. Older adults are usually more susceptible to a number of vision complications including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which may lead to a heightened risk of falls – which then brings about a heightened risk of eye injury.
Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist, explains, however, these types of conditions are usually preventable or treatable, making it vital for all seniors to get annual eye exams.
Additional fall prevention steps suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include:
- Most importantly, tell the doctor about any falls or feelings of unsteadiness, which could be connected to medication side effects or other health issues.
- Wear properly fitting, comfortable shoes.
- Stay physically active, especially through balance and strength exercises.
- Assess the house and remove any clutter, cords, throw rugs, etc. from walking paths.
- Properly install grab bars beside the toilet and in the shower.
- Place non-slip mats in and next to the shower.
- Make sure there is plenty of lighting throughout the home.
To help keep seniors safe from falls or other injuries, partner with a trusted Des Moines dementia care and home care agency like At-Home Care Company. We provide an in-home safety evaluation to check for any fall risks and also make recommendations for adjustments to ensure the safest possible environment. Our caregivers are trained and knowledgeable in providing necessary support for senior loved ones to further assist in fall prevention, and can transport and accompany seniors to medical appointments and procedures including eye exams, pick up prescriptions, and provide medication reminders so they are taken exactly as they should be, and so much more.
Looking for senior care? Reach out to us at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our top-rated Des Moines dementia care and independent living home care and to schedule a free in-home assessment. For a full list of all the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.