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Home » Low Vision » Why Do Seniors Often Overestimate How Well They Can See?

Why Do Seniors Often Overestimate How Well They Can See?

woman drinking coffee 640It may be hard to believe, but many people with sight-threatening eye diseases are completely unaware of their condition until they suffer irreversible vision loss. That’s especially true of people 60 and older, who are the ones most likely to develop these conditions.  

Many eye conditions and diseases can creep up slowly, with no discernible symptoms in their early stages.  

In one Swedish study of 1,200 seventy-year-olds, 6 out of 10 didn’t realize that their vision was subpar, or that there were ways to maximize their remaining vision with certain glasses or a stronger lens prescription.  

The study concluded that many seniors overestimate their eye health, largely because the symptoms of eye disease can develop gradually and often go unnoticed. 

Conditions That Can Slowly Impair Vision

Here are some common causes of vision impairment that don’t always have obvious warning signs, at least early on. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, contact Clinic for Vision PC Low Vision Center to schedule a prompt eye exam. 

Cataracts

When the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, cataracts are to blame. They are often a natural part of the aging process, which is why most cases of cataracts occur in people over the age of 50. Depending on the location and intensity of the cataract, it can interfere with vision and may need to be surgically removed. 

Symptoms of cataracts include: 

  • Blurry or dim vision
  • Perceiving colors as faded
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in lens prescription
  • Sensitivity to light

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is an eye disease that affects the macula (the central portion of the retina) and causes central vision loss. Having a functioning macula allows us to read, watch TV, recognize faces and see fine details.  

Symptoms of AMD include: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing straight lines as distorted or wavy
  • Difficulty reading
  • Oversensitivity to glare
  • Needing bright light to perform close work

Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. It typically affects both eyes and can lead to peripheral vision loss, known as ‘Tunnel Vision.’ Left untreated, glaucoma can eventually cause total blindness. 

The early stages of glaucoma do not have any obvious signs, meaning frequent eye exams are essential. Symptoms of middle to late stages of glaucoma include: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Seeing rings around lights
  • Sensitivity to light

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) 

DR is a complication of type 1 and 2 diabetes that damages the blood vessels in the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Controlling your blood sugar helps to minimize eye damage. 

Symptoms of DR include: 

  • Gradually worsening vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Dark areas in your visual field
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden increase in floaters

Our Low Vision Optometrist Can Help

Here’s the bottom line: many eye conditions and diseases develop gradually, waving no red flags until the eye is irreversibly damaged. That’s why comprehensive annual eye exams are so crucial for individuals over the age of 60, even if they believe that their eyes are healthy.  

At Clinic for Vision PC Low Vision Center, our low vision team uses the latest diagnostic technology to ensure the most accurate examination and diagnosis. If any signs of eye disease are found, don’t worry —we can help. 

We offer various low vision aids and devices so that you can continue living your life to the fullest. 

Vision impairment doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love. To schedule your low vision consultation, call Clinic for Vision PC Low Vision Center in Albertville today. 

Q&A

Q: #1: What are low vision aids?

  • A: They are devices that help people with reduced vision to read, watch TV, recognize faces, and carry out daily tasks. They work by [maximizing] any usable vision and include magnifiers, closed-circuit television, telescope glasses, and more. Your low vision optometrist will help you decide which devices best meet your lifestyle needs.

Q: #2: What can cause low vision?

  • A: People with low vision have visual impairments that can’t be corrected by surgery, medication, or any traditional eye correction methods, like standard glasses and contact lenses. Low vision can be caused by an eye injury, eye diseases like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, aging and accidents, among other causes.

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