Many of us experience vision problems from time to time in our life. Redness and dry, irritated eyes are increasingly common among adults who work or play on computers every day. For older adults, however, signs of a serious illness can first appear as changes in vision. They can be a signal of anything from a detached retina to a stroke. Midwestern caregivers should know how to recognize which vision changes an aging loved one can’t afford to ignore.
Changes in a Senior’s Vision that Can Signal a Serious Problem
The following vision symptoms can all be signs of a serious health condition that requires medical intervention:
- Sudden Changes: Loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes that comes on suddenly should never be ignored. Both can be warning signs of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). It requires immediate medical attention. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms disappear on their own. Call 911 immediately. When someone is having a stroke, every minute counts.
- Blind Spots: If a blind spot appears in an older adult’s line of vision, there may be a variety of reasons for it. Hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes are just a few. Call your primary care physician to determine if you should make an appointment with them or go to the emergency room for treatment.
- Halos or Cloudy Vision: These are the classic symptoms of cataracts. Seniors don’t always realize how serious cataracts can be. Untreated, they can lead to blindness. Consult with an Ophthalmologist to confirm the diagnosis and establish a plan for treating them.
- Vision Floaters: Another vision problem that requires immediate intervention is a detached retina. “Floaters” appearing in your vision as well as burst of light or color can be symptoms of this condition. Seek medical treatment right away to prevent blindness.
- Dark Spots: If a dark spot appears in the center of a person’s vision, it may be a sign of macular degeneration. Other early indicators include trouble identifying colors and problems reading road signs. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among older adults. Eye Infections: Irritations and minor eye infections aren’t uncommon. If an older adult experiences recurring redness in just one eye, it may be the sign of an inflammation or infection that needs treatment.
Many eye problems can be prevented or treated with routine vision screenings. To learn what eye exams and screenings Medicare will cover and how often, please visit Your Medicare Coverage.