Posted January 15, 2016
As you age, you probably will notice changes in your vision, especially when reading books or viewing signs. Don’t shrug off these changes – new research shows that doing so may impact your quality of life and your lifespan.
Purdue University researchers studied more than 2,500 people ages 65 to 84 over eight years, exploring how vision changes affected their lives. Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship wasn’t found, they noted these discoveries:
- Changes in daily tasks – As vision diminished, participants were less able to complete normal tasks, such as using the phone, shopping or preparing meals.
- Inability to read eye charts – During regular vision tests, researchers noted that individuals with vision decline of one letter-size line on the eye chart were projected to have a 16 percent increase in mortality.
Vision problems can cause seniors to withdraw from spending time with friends and family members, resulting in depression and less interest in living.
However, seniors who maintain good vision are better able to adjust to these life changes. Scheduling regular eye exams helps eye doctors identify vision changes that require prescription correction. Exams also help doctors detect eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes retinopathy, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool in England discovered that as people age, their ability to see differences in color hues may diminish. They conducted a color vision test with 185 people ages 18 to 75. Participants matched most colors, but older participants struggled to detect differences in shades of colors, especially yellow-blue hues. Researchers believe color vision changes as people age, but the visual brain recalibrates itself so people may not realize they have color blindness.
As people look forward to their retirement years, they make plans to explore new interests and pursue dreams. However, to enjoy these years, seniors need to take care of their vision, dental and hearing health.