Guest Post: Recognizing Early Symptoms of Degenerative Eye Diseases

eye-disease-659x461As we age our eyes tend to become less efficient and more prone to degenerative diseases. One in 6 adults over the age of 45 will experience some sort sight-threatening problem, the three most common degenerative eye diseases being Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration. Fortunately many eyes diseases share common symptoms of their onset. Caregivers should keep an eye out for those that complain of irregularities in vision or they should recommend regular appointments with the optometrist as eye afflictions are usually hard to spot until they are severe. Here is a list of the most common signs of degenerative eye diseases.

  • Faded Colors – If colors seem to be diminishing or are not distinguishable you could be experiencing early symptoms of a cataract, macular degeneration, or another eye disease. It is important to get this treated quickly. Nearly every case of color blindness that is not genetically inherited is caused by the severe onset of another eye diseases.
  • Double Vision – Seeing double of an object is a commonly reported sign of macular degeneration, astigmatism, glaucoma, and a few others. It is important to diagnose this early on because, depending on the disease, it might be easily treated. In the case of astigmatism people might mistake it as genuine double vision when in reality astigmatism is defined as two perpendicular planes with different foci. In other words it’s like looking at your TV screen through an odd-shaped glass-it looks blurry or ghosted.
  • Visual Hallucinations – This is one of the surest signs of macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in Americans 65 or older. Visual hallucinations may randomly appear as spots of color rather than objects. It is a sign of excess pigment in the macula or severe thinning of macular tissues. Our macular tissues tend to thin out as we age but not everyone experiences noticeable problems early on, making it a more difficult disease to spot.
  • Shadowy Spots in Vision Dark lines or spots in vision can come and go as we get older and too many people label them as harmless or just something that happens as you get older. This is not the case as these spots are usually a sign of optic nerve disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or another harmful eye affliction. If these spots start to make a noticeably regular appearance in your vision see the doctor immediately.

As caregivers it is the responsibility of you to look after your patient or loved one because all too often they try too hard not to be an inconvenience. As mentioned above eye diseases can very hard to spot early on so it is important to constantly ask the patients how things are looking.

griffGriff Haeger is a health writer who got pink eye when he was only 9 years old and has since been very conscience of his eye health. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others through researching and writing about various eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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