How To Help Your Clients Practice Good Eye Care
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Toluca Lake and elsewhere often assist senior clientele who don’t see well. For many individuals, diminished vision is part of aging. Career home health care nurses know that teaching their clients good eye care practices helps preserve their vision.
Professional caregivers emphasize the importance of regular eye exams to their senior clients. Exams can reveal asymptomatic eye diseases in the early stages. That allows effective treatment.
An optometrist or ophthalmologist will prescribe glasses or contacts if needed. Encourage your patient to accept and wear them to improve their vision. They risk injuries from falls and accidents when they can’t see objects or obstacles.
There Are Several Degrees Of Eyesight Loss
Some aging individuals can still see but may have low vision. Low vision often means that they:
- Can’t see well enough to cook or do other daily tasks safely.
- Find it difficult to recognize familiar faces.
- Aren’t able to read street signs, making driving unsafe.
- Think that all the lighting is too dim.
Low vision generally can’t be fixed. An eye care specialist may recommend a rehabilitation program. As an in-home nurse, you may assist your patient with rehab requirements or with special vision aids.
Less severe vision changes due to aging include the inability to:
- See up close
- Distinguish similar colors from one another
- Adjust quickly to changes in lighting
These can be corrected with prescription lenses, labels, and improved lighting.
Eyesight Can Be Lost As A Result Of Disease
Several eye diseases can lead to permanent loss of vision. These include:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal detachment
The earlier these are diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment. Many individuals also experience chronic dry eyes, which respond well to treatment.
Your patients may have medical conditions that increase their risk of impaired vision. These include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes, among others. Certain medications can affect their vision.
Lifestyle Habits Affect Eyesight
You may need to help your patient make lifestyle changes as part of their eye care and general well-being. Some to start with include:
- Following their healthcare provider’s instructions to control their medical conditions. That encompasses taking the appropriate medications and undergoing recommended treatments.
- Protecting their eyes and skin from the sun. They should never stare at the sun, as even a few seconds can damage eyes. Sunglasses, preferably with UV400 protection, are a necessity.
- Arranging for adequate lighting. Dim light strains eyes and makes them work harder.
- Taking breaks to look away from television or computer screens. Recommend the 20/20 technique, which means looking away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. That relaxes the eyes and prevents tiredness or strain.
- Getting adequate exercise. Exercising improves blood flow and circulation. It also helps individuals maintain a healthy weight. That reduces their risk of developing chronic diseases that affect their eyesight.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking significantly increases an individual’s risk of developing cataracts and AMD.
Getting adequate sleep and drinking plenty of water also contribute to eye health.
Diet Affects Eyesight
Diet is a crucial factor in eye care and overall well-being. Nearly everyone has heard that carrots are good for eye health. Nutrition for eye health, however, is more than eating carrots every day.
Eyes receive nourishment from arterial blood flow. Those tiny arteries are subject to the same kinds of damage and blockages as other arteries. A central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) is an “eye stroke” caused by a blocked artery.
A CRAO can be as devastating to eyesight as a CVA (stroke) is to the brain. A heart-healthy diet is also an eye-healthy diet. As a home healthcare nurse, you need to evaluate your patient’s diet as part of their overall well-being.
Good nutrition means minimizing fats and maximizing fruits, vegetables, and grains. Eye care recommendations include obtaining essential nutrients such as:
- Vitamin A from orange-colored foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe.
- Vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers.
- Vitamin E from seeds and nuts like almonds
- Omega 3 fatty acids from cold-water fish like salmon
- Antioxidants from leafy green vegetables and eggs
- Minerals from beans, lean red meat, chicken
Your Pegasus team includes a dietitian that can teach clients how to choose healthy foods and plan meals. Your team also includes caregivers who can assist with shopping and meal preparation.
Even with your assistance, some of your senior clientele may not consume enough nutritious foods. Taking supplements may or may not be helpful. For example, getting antioxidants from supplements, rather than food, does not help prevent cataracts.
Taking high doses of beta-carotene or Vitamin E supplements can create serious health issues. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 studies showed that specific supplements were helpful in some AMD cases. AREDS and AREDS2 formulations are available over-the-counter but should not be taken without medical consultation.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our professional in-home caregivers in Toluca Lake and our other locations tailor their services to meet individual client needs. Our career home health care nurses include teaching others good eye care practices as an essential service.