Vision loss is a common health care problem among the elderly in different countries. Research shows that one in every three individuals aged 65 years and above may be experiencing visual loss. The aim of the paper is to discuss the three main causes of vision loss among the elderly (Silverstone & Lighthouse International, 2000).
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Glaucoma encompasses several disorders that occur due to the damage of the optic nerve. It is a major cause of blindness in some countries. Research indicates that more than one million Americans aged 65 years and above have experienced vision loss because of glaucoma (Marengo & Comoglio, 2011). Additionally, glaucoma has caused more than 75% of blindness in Americans aged above 65 years. The primary open angle glaucoma accounts for 10% of all blindness in the U.S. and affects both women and men at the same rate. Some of the risk factors associated with this form of glaucoma include; increasing age, diabetes, increased myopia, family history and hypertension (Silverstone & Lighthouse International, 2000).
Cataracts causes blindness in different individuals around the world. In addition, it is a common cause of vision loss among the elderly. Research shows that old people are more vulnerable to cataracts. Some of the symptoms of cataract include glare, blurred vision and monocular diplopia (Silverstone & Lighthouse International, 2000). Cataracts refer to the opacification of the lens, which affect the vision function. Some of the common forms of cataract include; the nuclear cataract that arises due to the opacification of the central lens, the cortical cataract that occur when radial spokes stretch from the sides of the lens and the posterior subcapsular cataracts that damage the central visual axis located at the posterior cortical layer (Marengo & Comoglio, 2011).
Age-Related Macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in individuals aged 65 years and above. Advancing age is one of the common factors that cause AMD among the elderly. Some of the AMD’s common symptoms include; central scotoma, blurred vision, difficulty in reading and image distortion (Silverstone & Lighthouse International, 2000). The exudative type of AMD causes severe vision loss. The other type of AMD is the nonexudative, which is very common among individuals with vision loss. In addition, the nonexudative AMD rarely causes severe vision loss. The geographic atrophy and the drusen are the main types of nonexudative (Marengo & Comoglio, 2011).
Drusen are yellowish deposits, which occur in both eyes. Other factors affect on the drusen, thus leading to vision loss. The geographic atrophy is the one that leads to severe vision loss associated with this form of AMD (Marengo & Comoglio, 2011). The atrophy occurs on the retina as well as at the epithelium. It leads to distorted or blurred vision and driving or reading difficulties. It entails the growth of vessels that are abnormal on the retina space (Marengo & Comoglio, 2011).
In summary, the paper has discussed the main causes of vision loss among the aged. These cause’s influences on vision function to varying degrees and they may range from visual impairment to severe visual loss. Increasing age and family history are some of the risk factors that affect vision function among the aged.
Marengo, C., & Comoglio, M. (2011). Risk of Disability in Elderly Diabetic Patients. Seed Medical Pub.
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Silverstone, B., & Lighthouse International. (2000). The Lighthouse handbook on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.