By age 80, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery to address one. Since this affects so many seniors, it’s important to understand what cataracts are, how they are diagnosed, what affect they can have on your seniors and how they are treated.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens that covers the eye. Normally, light passes through the lens through the pupil and is focused by the lens. When the lens is clouded, the signals the eye receives are blurry.
What causes cataracts?
The lens sits behind the iris and the pupil and focuses light onto the back of the eye. This lets the brain process images. The lens is made of a mixture of water and protein, which are spread evenly over the eye to allow light through. Over time, protein can start to clump, which causes cataracts to form.
Diabetes and smoking may play a role in cataract development, but there are many suspected causes. The result is the same – blurry or distorted vision.
When do cataracts occur?
Cataracts can form in a person’s 40s or 50s, but they are so small that they are usually unnoticed unless a person is getting their eyes checked regularly. Symptoms of cataracts may include:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Faded color saturation
- Glare from lights
- Poor night vision
- Double vision in one eye
- Regular prescription changes to eyeglasses or contacts
- Cataracts can develop as a side effect of surgery, medication or radiation as well.
While small changes can help manage cataract symptoms, surgical treatment of cataracts is the only cure. They should be removed when they interfere with the quality of life and ability to perform normal tasks, such as reading, driving or navigating a house.
Surgery includes removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. This is one of the most common surgeries performed, and more than 90 percent of patients who received cataract surgery reported improvement in vision.
Discuss any medication your senior is taking with your doctor before surgery. Some medication can cause bleeding, and you may need to discontinue use and monitor any symptoms or changes in behavior or mood.
During surgery, eye drops will be added to dilute the pupil. The eyes are numbed to pain, and the surgery takes about an hour. Seniors will need to be driven home since they cannot drive themselves. Post-surgery, medicated eye drops may be required for several days.
Home care advantages
Having an elderly care provider around to help with household chores is always helpful, but for seniors recovering from surgery, it can be essential since they will have difficulty seeing for up to several weeks while their eyes heal. Elderly care providers can remind seniors to use their medicated eyedrops and help keep the house navigable while they heal. Additionally, surgery can be unsettling for many seniors, and having an elderly care provider to talk through their experience can help seniors recover from cataract surgery with ease.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care in Oakmont, PA, talk to the caring staff at Superior Home Care today. Call us at 412.754.2600