The health workers must have contact with
the geriatric clinic in the nearby hospital or with the PHC
or its sub-centres. The elderly may be advised to visit these
centres for appropriate health care. Periodical visits to
their homes to distribute medicines to them and offer counselling
will keep the aged fairly happy and free from anxiety and
insecurity. The old age can thus be made an enjoyable stage
of life. The care of the elderly should be comprehensively
planned and executed.
Ageing and the Eyes
A decline in eye sight is not inevitable
with ageing but some physical changes occur during the normal
ageing process that can affect the vision. Some maintain good
eye sight even in their advanced years. Older people generally
need brighter light for their day to day tasks and the regular
house-hold bulbs are better for their eyes than the tube lights.
The elderlies are to be advised to have regular health checkups
to detect such treatable diseases as High Blood Pressure,
Diabetes mellitus, which are important causes for eye ailments.
A periodic thorough eye examination once in 2 or 3 years is
a must even in the absence of eye symptoms. This will enable
a check for glaucoma and the need for using glasses to improve
vision and detection of early cataract. More frequent consultations
with eye-specialist are necessary if the individual is known
to be suffering from Diabetes or High Blood Pressure or if
there is a family history of eye disease. Symptoms like diminution
in vision, pain in the eye, excessive discharge from the eye,
double vision, redness, swelling of the eye or eye-lids should
make the individual consult an Eye specialist. The common
eye complaints in the elderly are: Presbyopia, Dry eyes, Excessive
tears, Cataract, Glaucoma and Retinal disorders.
Presbyopia is a gradual decline in
the ability to focus on near objects or to see small print
and is common after the age of 40. Those with presbyopia often
hold reading materials at arm's length and some may complain
of headaches or tired eyes while reading or doing close work.
This is not preventable but can be managed with suitable glasses.
Excessive tears may be a sign of increased
sensitivity to light, wind or temperature changes. Protective
measures such as sunglasses may help the patients. Some times
eye infection or a blocked tear-duct may also cause excessive
tears and need treatment Dried eyes result from the
tear glands producing too few tears. This causes irritation,
burning of eyes or a poor vision. An eye specialist prescribes
special eye drops to help the patients.
Cataract is the occurrence of opaque
areas in part of the lens or whole of it in the eye. It can
occur in one eye or both eyes. In health, the lens is clear
and allows the light to pass through. When cataract forms,
light cannot easily pass through the lens and this affects
vision. Cataract may develop without pain, redness or tears
in the eye. Some of them remain small and do not affect the
vision seriously. Surgical removal is necessary when the cataract
become larger in size or denser. Cataract surgery is a safe
procedure that is available in many eye camps and hospitals
and consultation with the eye specialist is necessary regarding
advice for surgery. Vision is