August brings National Eye Exam Month—a wonderful reminder about the importance of scheduling yearly comprehensive eye exams for your parent and exams every two years for yourself. As a family caregiver, helping your parent stay up on yearly exams and acting as their medical advocate is probably one of your most important roles. At the same time, it’s easy to become so engrossed in caring for your parent that you forget to care for yourself. National Eye Exam month offers the gentle nudge about the importance of your eyes and caring for them.
Why a Comprehensive Eye Exam?
Age brings an increased risk of developing several eye diseases, many of which offer little to no warning signs until irreversible eye damage and vision loss has occurred. The earliest detection is through a comprehensive eye exam. If detected early, there are often various measures that can be undertaken to slow down or halt the disease. A few of these eye diseases include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
The macula or central portion of the retina can degenerate with age. The most common warning sign is blurred vision. Ultimately, macular degeneration can lead to loss of central vision. In fact, it is the leading cause of vision loss in America. If detected early, various therapies and special vitamins can be prescribed that have been shown to slow down the progression of this incurable disease.
This eye disease is a complication that arises from diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar that damages the tiny arteries in the eyes. Because of the many complications associated with diabetes, it’s important to monitor your parent’s blood sugar and make sure it is in the acceptable range through implementing dietary changes, exercise and, possibly, medications. If left untreated, it can cause blindness. The earliest signs may include blurred vision, floaters, and difficulty seeing at night.
Cataracts, or clouding of the lens of the eyes, are the number one cause of blindness in the world. American’s are fortunate in that cataract surgery has become very common and also has a high success rate. Early symptoms include blurred vision, increasing glare and difficulty driving at night due to the lights of oncoming vehicles.
This eye condition is often due to increased pressure in the back of the eye that can affect the optic nerve. Glaucoma typically has no early warning signs. There are treatments available which cannot reverse eye damage but can help to halt its progression.
The Good News
Like the rest of your body, the eyes also benefit from a healthy lifestyle. As a family caregiver, you can help by providing your parent with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, scheduling at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days of the week, and if your parent smokes, help them stop. Help can be found at SmokeFree 60+. An additional resource for maintaining eye health is EyeCare America—a program sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology that offers seniors-in-need low to no-cost eye exams.
If you are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Allentown, PA, contact the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Allentown. Call today at (610) 200-6097.
Carole gained most of her formal managerial training by attending Pennsylvania State University in pursuit of her degree in Health Policy and Administration. She attributes her informal training to have been acquired on a more personal level. Carole understands first-hand what families may experience when allowing a home care provider access to their home while providing care to their loved one. She was a caregiver for two of her grandparents until their passing and believes in the importance of allowing family members the opportunity to remain in the comfort of home if they so desire. Carole is also the mother of a child with multiple medical conditions who requires nursing services in the home. It is because of her personal experiences that Carole understands first-hand how important it is to manage a quality, high-integrity home care agency in which clients and families can place their trust and be confident they are receiving the best care possible. Carole also believes in the importance of giving back to the community. Therefore, she volunteers and spear-heads fundraising activities for a variety of charitable and professional organizations, namely the Pennsylvania Home Care Association, Autism Speaks and Avengers Baseball, Inc.
Carole, a resident of Lehigh County, is married and has 2 children. In her free time, she is the “team mom” for her son’s tournament baseball team, enjoys cooking, spending time with her family and friends, and is an avid NY Giants, NY Yankees and Penn State football fan. Carol is a verified Google Author