While it’s common for vision to change and even get worse as we get older, if your parent is complaining about his ability to see things as clear as before, it’s possible he may have the beginning of a cataract and may need the help of elder care. Most cataracts occur in individuals after they turn 60, so it is not uncommon for seniors to suffer from cataracts.
Cataracts occur when the proteins in the lens of your parent’s eye becomes thicker and less transparent. It can also change color and become more yellow as the proteins build up. When this happens, the discolored lens will become more difficult to see through and may create a cloud for your parent to try to view the world through. It can occur in just one eye or both and can even return once a cataract has been removed through surgery. If it’s extremely advanced, you or an elder care provider may even be able to see a cloudy film over your parent’s eye(s).
While cataracts aren’t painful, they do cause some common symptoms that your parent may be experiencing. They will change the way your parent sees the world. It may happen slowly at first so that your parent doesn’t realize his vision is changing, but over time, it’ll affect his vision enough that he won’t be able to ignore it. Here are the most common symptoms linked to cataracts.
It’s hard to see in the dark or at night.
One of the most common symptoms of a cataract is the difficulty of seeing at night. Your parent may have slowly stopped driving at night because he cannot see the lines on the road as well. If he has started asking you or his elder care provider to do most of his night-time driving, ask him what makes it difficult for him now. If it’s his inability to see, getting his eyes checked is a good first response.
Light sources start to have halos.
This symptom is another reason many people with cataracts stop driving at night. It’s hard to distinguish distance and speed when every headlight and streetlight has rays of light shooting out of it. While a cataract is not the only cause for this (scratched eyeglasses or even dirty windshields can have this affect), if your parent is noticing halos around light sources even when not wearing his glasses, he may have a cataract causing them.
He’s sensitive to light.
A cataract can cause your parent to struggle with bright sunshine or other intense sources of light. If your parent is consistently asking his elder care provider to dim the lights because they bother his eyes, add it to another reason to get his eyes examined.
Double or ghosted vision is more common. If your parent is seeing two of the same item, or if items kind of overlap and seem to have multiple images, a cataract may be to blame.
The world just isn’t as colorful as it was. Cataracts can cause colors to fade and be muted as the cataract creates a cloudy film for your parent to try to see the world from.
The world is so much better when we can see it clearly. If your parent is suffering from any of these symptoms, make an appointment with his eye doctor to see what steps you can take to improve his vision. An elder care provider can assist by taking your senior loved one to their various doctor appointments and provide support while they are there.