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Dealing with eyesight problems

Senior Health > Dealing with eyesight problems

Many senior citizens have trouble with their eyesight. Possibly easier to admit than hearing or memory loss, many elderly folks still struggle with not being able to watch television, read the paper, or sew as they did in their younger days. All seniors – and indeed, all people – should have their eyes checked on an annual basis to make sure prescriptions are up to date and that any major problems are discovered and treated immediately. After ruling out cataracts or other problems, there are a few simple changes seniors can make to adjust to their decreasing eyesight.

The first solution is to always wear glasses or contacts as prescribed. Although this advice may seem obvious, some senior citizens, particularly ones who have never worn glasses before, are embarrassed or frustrated by the need for aid now. Wearing glasses, though, is a simple way to decrease the problem. Another solution is to purchase lamps with high wattage bulbs and to increase the wattage in existing lighting. Although a family may have had the same light fixtures for years or decades, now may be the time to consider an upgrade because low lighting can continue to affect vision adversely.

Purchasing a good flashlight, or several good flashlights, also can help. Seniors should consider keeping a flashlight by the bed or door in case they need to walk outside at night or see something quickly. A flashlight illuminating the path is a much better option than stumbling in the dark. Along the same lines, nightlights or bathroom/hall lights should be considered. Seniors should not be afraid or ashamed to leave lights on to help if they need to go to the restroom or get a drink during the night. The lights can help assist with getting to the bathroom without needing to feel one’s way around.

Work to make things easier for yourself. If a light or lamp shines off an object, move one or the other. The television, because of its screen, is an appliance that often “catches” the light, causing a glare and forcing the viewer to strain to see it properly. Move the television if that is the case. Find a spot where it is easily visible without the glare of overhead lights.

Finally, be willing to make the transition to elderly life gracefully. Ask for large print books. Write larger yourself. Enlist family members or friends to help with paying bills and carrying out other tasks that may strain the eyesight. It is not a weakness to need help; it is a mark of strength to be able to ask for it.

Senior Health > Dealing with eyesight problems