As the baby boomer population continues to age, it is estimated that approximately 70 million Americans will be over 65 years of age by 2030. As we age, the risk of visual impairment increases dramatically. Approximately one in three individuals will have some sort of visual impairment by the age of 65. When an elderly individual has reduced vision, it often reduces their ability to enjoy the normal activities of daily living. Having a reduction in the ability to read, write, watch television and drive can lead to a dramatic increase in depression. Also, seniors with vision impairment are at a much greater risk for falling, thus increasing their risk of hip fracture and other fall related injuries.
The 4 main causes of vision loss in the elderly are:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD),
- Diabetic retinopathy.
Other common conditions in the elderly include:
- Dry Eye
- Ischemic optic neuropathy
Why do nursing home patients need to receive an eye exam?
Vision impairment is one of the biggest challenges facing the elderly. Having good vision will greatly increase a person’s chances of maintaining their independence and emotional well-being. The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that 30-50% of nursing home residents are severely visually impaired. Many times this impairment is not reported by the patient or recognized by the family or nursing staff. When residents are unable to see well, either from not having corrective lenses or having reduced vision from eye disease, they will often have difficulties in doing the simplest of tasks. This can lead to feelings of fear, frustration, anger and even depression. Residents will often withdraw from others and become overly dependent on staff and family. This is why it’s so important for the elderly, especially in a nursing home setting, to get an annual eye exam. At Mobile Vision Professionals, we take pride in taking care of this population of seniors by providing eye care and services to help them regain and retain their independence.