Teaching Your Patients That Obtaining Regular Eye Exams Helps Prevent Blindness From Glaucoma And Improves Eye Health
Pegasus Home Health Care is acknowledged as a leader in our industry. We recognize that our professional caregivers are the basis of our reputation for quality service. That’s why we incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our hiring practices.
Pegasus expert in-home caregivers in Pacoima and elsewhere provide all levels of assistance. They understand how preserving vision helps their clients stay independent. Career home health care nurses help clients cope with glaucoma and improve eye health.
Your patients may have diseases such as diabetes or hypertension that affect their eye health. Among other problems, their resulting poor vision puts them at an increased risk for:
- Depression, because their ability to function is impaired.
- Falling, which can cause significant injuries because they can’t see where they’re walking and trip. They also can’t see objects in time to avoid them.
- Isolation, because they can’t see well enough to go out or participate in activities.
- Loss of independence, because individuals cannot adequately care for themselves as they lose their vision.
You may have to exercise vigilance to ensure your patients take their medications correctly. They may not be able to read the directions or other instructions.
Regular Eye Exams Are Essential
Vision decreases for most individuals as they age. However, “It is estimated that half of visual impairment and blindness can be prevented.” The key is early diagnosis and treatment.
Some eye conditions don’t have symptoms. The symptoms in others occur so slowly that individuals don’t notice them. By the time that vision loss becomes apparent, it may be too late to stop further deterioration.
It’s crucial that you encourage your patient to have regular eye exams. A professional can detect early symptoms and recommend treatment. Early treatment can alleviate or minimize permanent damage.
Emphasize to your patients that they must give the optometrist or ophthalmologist complete information. Some medical conditions affect vision in subtle ways. Prescribed and illicit drugs, supplements, and herbs can also affect vision.
Common Vision Impairments In The Elderly
Any number of conditions can impair eye health at any age. However, certain eye diseases are more common in elderly individuals than younger people. They include:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD risks that your patient can’t avoid include age, family history, being Caucasian, and being female. However, smoking is a significant risk factor that’s under their control. AMD isn’t preventable, but treatment slows the progression.
- Cataracts: Diabetes, smoking, and excessive exposure to sunlight are risk factors for cataracts. However, surgery is a highly successful treatment for cataracts and prevents the progression of blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Good management of their diabetes significantly reduces the retinopathy risk for your patients. Treatment has proven beneficial, especially if started early.
- Glaucoma: Age and family history are risk factors for glaucoma. Your Black and Mexican-American patients are at higher risk than others. But glaucoma can be controlled, and vision loss stopped with treatment. Regular exams are especially important, as glaucoma is often symptomless until vision is lost. If left untreated, your patient will experience total blindness.
Individuals who stop smoking reduce their risk of most eye diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well also reduce their risk of vision loss. Eyes rely on the good circulation and adequate nutrition provided by healthy lifestyle habits.
Other conditions affecting eye health include:
- Dry eyes: Chronic dry eyes result when insufficient tears are produced to lubricate the eyes. Treatment includes drops.
- Flashes: Flashes of light often aren’t of concern. If the flashes occur suddenly, they may indicate a torn or detached retina. Prompt medical attention is necessary.
- Floaters: The little specks floating in front of the eye are rarely more than an annoyance and don’t require treatment. However, if they suddenly appear, your patient needs to see an eye specialist. Floaters can signal a serious problem.
- Low vision: Low vision is an inability to see well. Vision rehabilitation and vision aids are the only treatment.
- Ocular melanoma: Eye cancer is very rare. It may appear as blind spots, flashes, or distorted vision.
- Retinal detachment: Detachment usually occurs suddenly. Your patient may see floaters, flashes, or shadows. Immediate treatment is essential to prevent blindness.
- Temporal arteritis: Temporal arteritis is a vascular disorder that affects elderly women more than others. Severe headaches, jaw pain, fatigue, fever, and vision problems characterize it. Immediate medical attention is crucial in preventing blindness.
The National Eye Institute maintains a library of free materials on eye health you can share with your patients. They offer handouts, fact sheets, infographics, and videos in English and Spanish.
Join Us In Providing Professional Caregiving
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Pacoima and our other locations are advocates for their clients. They encourage patients to obtain eye exams to maintain eye health and prevent blindness from diseases like glaucoma. Career home health care nurses teach others how to care for themselves, so they remain independent.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our professionals always adhere to the highest ethical and clinical standards. We’re an equal opportunity employer, and we’re currently hiring professionals who care about the well-being of others.