February is Low Vision Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for seniors and their families to learn more about low vision and how it impacts seniors. Any senior can develop low vision, but seniors who already have vision problems may be more likely to have vision loss as they get older. Low vision is not reversible, and it can be a symptom of more serious vision related conditions like Diabetic Retinopathy, Age-related Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and Glaucoma. That’s why it’s very important for seniors and their families to know the symptoms of low vision. If you notice your senior loved one has any of these symptoms, they should get in for an eye exam immediately:
Blurry vision by itself could be caused by many things and isn’t necessarily related to low vision. But persistent blurriness or blurriness that is getting worse is something that needs to be checked out. If your senior loved one is experiencing blurry vision that isn’t temporary or caused by fatigue, too much screen time, or other mundane causes, it could be low vision. An eye exam and other vision tests should be done to narrow down the cause of the blurry vision.
Trouble Seeing Contrast
If your senior loved one is starting to have trouble distinguishing contrast, that is a symptom of low vision that should be checked out by an eye doctor. Your senior parent may start complaining that they can’t see the picture on the TV clearly, or they may have trouble distinguishing letters and words that are printed. If your senior loved one has home, ask the home care provider to pay attention to whether your senior parent has trouble reading medicine bottles or seeing the TV.
Not being able to see clearly in low light can happen at any age, but it is something that commonly impacts seniors. However, if your senior loved one starts experiencing night blindness or is having a lot of trouble seeing clearly at night, make sure they are not able to drive. They shouldn’t be driving with any form of vision impairment. A home care provider can take them to appointments, like an eye exam, or anywhere else they need to go to ensure they get there safely. Likewise, an eye exam should be done to determine if low vision is causing your senior parent to have poor vision at night or if it’s something else.
Problems With Depth Perception
Not having good depth perception can increase the risk of seniors falling at home. They could get into dangerous situations, like not being able to put dishes safely in the sink and dropping them on the floor instead, or not being able to safely move a hot pan off the stove. If your senior loved one seems reluctant to take steps, avoids taking stairs, or complains they are having trouble establishing depth, schedule an eye exam for them.