Healthy Aging: What Seniors Should Know About Cataracts

By November 26, 2012Healthy Aging

As seniors age, changes can be seen in vision quality. The lens of the human eye is composed of mostly water and proteins. Age can cause the proteins within the lens to build up, creating a cloudy appearance on the surface of the eye. This protein build up can prevent light from passing through the eye, causing blurry vision. The cloudy area that appears on the lens is known as a cataract. The size of cataracts can vary widely. The larger the cataract, the more the vision is negatively affected.

Cataract Symptoms

●  Cloudy, blurry or dimmed vision
●  Extreme sensitivity to light
●  Seeing halos around lights
●  Extreme difficulty seeing in low light and at night
●  Seeing faded, dull or yellow colors
●  Having to use extremely bright lights while reading
●  Experiencing double vision in only one eye

Causes of Cataracts

●  Aging: This is the most common cause of cataracts due to physical changes that occur within the lens of the eye.
●  Congenital: These cataracts are hereditary or caused by a birth defect.
●  Non-age related: Cataracts in this category are linked to other eye problems or chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
●  Traumatic: These cataracts are a result of some previous eye injury and can develop at any time afterward.

Treatment for Cataracts

The most common form of treatment for cataracts is surgery. During the surgery, an ophthalmologist removes the lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial lens implant. This artificial lens is known as an intraocular lens (IOL).

The surgery itself is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing seniors to go home after the procedure is complete. Seniors are prescribed eye drops for home use and instructed to wear an eye shield while sleeping. In addition, seniors are instructed to avoid rubbing their eyes, to use special sunglasses when exposed to bright lights and to avoid any strenuous activity for several days. The professionals at LivHOME healthcare can help seniors recover after cataract surgery by providing services such as medication administration, medication reminders and safety while performing activities of daily living.

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