Dry eye is a common problem in seniors. It occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tears or the tears that are produced are of the wrong consistency and evaporate rapidly. Tears provide lubrication, wash away debris and protect against infection. If left untreated, it can lead to pain and scars on the cornea—the eye’s clear outermost layer—and can ultimately affect the eyesight.
Symptoms associated with dry eye include a gritty feeling within the eye, often described as sandpaper. It can feel as though there is something in the eye at all times and can produce a stinging or burning sensation. It can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, work on the computer or read.
Age is one of the main risk factors associated with dry eyes. A majority of people over the age of 65 experience it to some degree. Other medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis may produce dry eyes. Long-term use of contacts as well as LASIK surgery have been known to contribute to decreased tear production. Several environmental factors are associated with it and include smoking, failure to blink enough and living in dry climates. If you believe your loved one may be suffering from this disease, make an immediate appointment with their ophthalmologist. Dry eyes can be successfully treated, keeping their vision from being impaired.
Depending on the cause, there are several options that their eye doctor may recommend. These include adding artificial tears through the use of eye drops, blocking the tear ducts with gel-like plugs which conserves existing tears, and the use of medicated eye drops that increase tear production. Natural remedies include the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the diet, which can be found in cold water fish such as salmon. Warm compresses and the use of a humidifier to help keep moisture in the are also beneficial. Help your loved one drink plenty of water by keeping a full glass by their side. If the outdoors proves to be a factor, try wraparound sunglasses that protect the eye.
Senior Care Provider
If your loved one has difficulty performing the everyday tasks of living, consider hiring a senior care provider. They can assist your parent with daily activities as well as remind them when it’s time to take their medications or use their eye drops. They can prepare eye-healthy meals and make sure your loved one has a glass of water by their side. Senior care providers will accompany them and provide transportation to social outings and events, making sure that your loved one remains engaged as they age.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Senior Care in St. Pete Beach, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.