Essential Facts about Astigmatism

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According to the National Eye Institute, approximately half of all adults over the age of 20 are living with visual refraction errors. Astigmatism is one of the most common of these errors, and it often worsens with age. Getting older can increase the risk of astigmatism along with other common eye problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Since the condition distorts vision, astigmatism can make daily life more difficult for seniors. Following is everything you need to know to care for a senior loved one with astigmatism.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs in the cornea or the lens, which are clear rounded domes that cover the iris and pupil of the eye. If the cornea or lens isn’t smoothly curved due to an injury or deformity, light that enters the eye is distorted. If the cornea or lens is uneven, the light refracts or bends abnormally. The light ray then divides and contacts the retina in two places, which causes blurred or otherwise distorted vision. These improperly refracted light beams don’t create a clear picture for the brain to interpret as a sharply defined image.

How Is Astigmatism Different from Other Vision Issues?

Most seniors have difficulty seeing things either close up or far away. However, since astigmatism disrupts vision even before the eyes focus on an object, everything is blurry and distorted at any distance. Seniors may notice objects at all distances look abnormally tall, wide, fuzzy, or blurry. However, unlike what occurs with age-related macular degeneration, astigmatism doesn’t cause seniors to have a smaller field of vision.

Vision issues can make it difficult for seniors to complete everyday tasks on their own. The type of at-home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

Are There Any Warning Signs of Astigmatism?

At first it can be difficult to tell if a senior has astigmatism, but there are a few warning signs that happen before vision is noticeably impaired. Seniors with astigmatism may get headaches due to vision irregularities. They may also have more difficulty seeing things at night. Other telltale symptoms of astigmatism include:

• Visual blurring or distortion
• Sensitivity to light

  • Excessive squinting
    • Eye strain
    • Frequently closing the eyes

A home caregiver can monitor your loved one for signs of a variety of conditions, including early symptoms of vision issues. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Vancouver, BC, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

How Is Astigmatism Treated?

Astigmatism is usually diagnosed during a regular eye exam. Seniors who notice changes in their vision should see their eye doctors for evaluation. Fortunately, there are eyeglasses and contact lenses that easily treat most cases of astigmatism by regulating the field of vision. An eye doctor can prescribe the right lenses that specify the degree of correction and compensation for an individual’s astigmatism. Some seniors may also benefit from orthokeratology, a treatment that uses rigid contact lenses to temporarily smooth the surface of the eye. 

In severe cases, surgery can be performed to permanently reshape the surface of the eye. During such a procedure, the cornea is reshaped to a relatively normal curvature. However, aging adults with other eye problems, such as glaucoma, might not be good candidates for this type of surgery. Consult an experienced eye surgeon to determine if your loved one is likely to benefit from surgery that reshapes his or her cornea.

Seniors with vision problems often benefit from having a helping hand around the home. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Vancouver respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. Call one of our dedicated Care Manages today at (778) 279-3634 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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