Aging Eye Care

Older patients have special needs, which increase past age 65 and multiply with each decade of life through age 100. Since aging is not a disease, older people must receive special and continual care to meet the required visual needs. Individuals in this age group should receive a complete eye health and vision examination yearly or more often if at risk for specific eye disorders.

Common vision changes often noticed after age fifty include:

  • Increased sensitivity to glare and bright sunlight
  • Require more light to see well on overcast days or at night
  • Decrease in the ability to quickly and accurately distinguish colors
  • Decrease in the sharpness of vision under certain lighting conditions
  • Diminished ability to see to the side while looking ahead (peripheral vision)
  • Increased difficulty when changing focus from near to far objects (or vice versa)

Age-Related Eye Disorders
Optometric physicians receive special training in providing comprehensive eye care for older persons. Eye doctors are part of the interdisciplinary team caring for these patients. Optometric physicians treat all types of geriatric related eye and vision problems. These include glaucoma, corneal disease, cataracts, retinal disorders including diabetic eye disease, neurological disorders, and refractive errors or low vision disorders.

Eye Care For Older Individuals
Since older patients may have ambulation problems or impaired health, most optometric physicians design their offices to meet the needs of older patients. Older persons may receive supportive and additional counseling and direction from eye doctors to improve their nutrition, basic medical care, and psychological care. They may also receive referrals to low-vision rehabilitation centers and to multidisciplinary institutions for advanced diagnostic testing and care. Optometric physicians are independent health care providers whose services are covered under Medicare part B, DSHS, and many other forms of insurance. Most insurance plans have provisions for caring for these patients age 65 and older.