Managing eye health and vision loss in residential aged care facilities

Eye health is so important for quality of life in aged care residents. Discover how you can encourage and help manage good eye health in your loved one.

Managing Eye Health

At Healthcare 2 You, part of the journey we undertake to deliver Allied Healthcare Services to the Golden Oldies of our community involves education, in particular about vision and managing eye health.

It is almost universal for visual problems to come with age and it is common for aged care residents to struggle with their eyesight.

For an outsider, it can be difficult to imagine how someone with visual problems sees the world. However, having some knowledge and understanding is important for family members who wish to help manage your Loved One’s eye health.

See the world through their eyes

The video below provides good insights (no pun intended) into the world, as viewed by elderly people who have a range of eye diseases. While the clip is intended for carers, it can be very informative if you have a family member living in aged care.

Provided by the Macular Disease Foundation, this video should help you understand what life is like for those struggling with age-related vision changes.

This video may shed light on the reason why your Loved One is finding things difficult when it comes to being in unfamiliar situations or moving around independently.

Managing eye health: what to look out for

These are the characteristics of some common eye conditions in aged care residents:

  • Poor central vision: Difficulty seeing straight ahead, reading, seeing faces or watching television. Your Loved One may struggle to see the meal you put in front of them or their medication.
  • Poor side vision: Those with poor vision may not see things like low-hanging tree branches, rocks on the ground or the edge of stairs. They may not notice people walking towards them from the side.
  • Cloudy vision: Everything people with cloudy vision look at seems to be shrouded in fog.
  • Patchy vision: Some areas are blurred, missing or incomplete.

Signs which indicate a person isn’t seeing well may include:

  • Falling or tripping regularly
  • Avoiding group activities like Bingo, Scrabble or cards
  • Holding a book or newspaper close to their face
  • Not looking straight at you, but slightly to the side
  • Avoiding exercise like walking, even though they are quite fit
  • Frustration, anger or depression

Aged care staff are encouraged to let people know as they approach, to touch them gently on the arm and to ask first if the person needs their help. This can accommodate those who have special needs when it comes to eyesight. You can always use these tips when you visit your Loved One at the Aged Care facility.

The importance of managing eye health

Often, aged care residents who are struggling with vision loss fail to communicate their difficulties. This may be because they are not able to explain their concerns, or because they do not realise that someone may be able to help them.

In some cases, an elderly person’s vision degeneration has been slow and they do not realise how bad things have become.

To prevent falls and promote good quality of life, regular checkups are an essential service for Aged Care residents. It may be that an Optometrist is able to make a difference to your Loved One’s vision, or that they can prevent problems from rapidly getting worse.

Having a regular review of ocular/vision health is so important to help maintain and improve your Loved One’s eyesight. To ensure your father, mother or other relative is attended to in this area, your approval is required for an annual eyecare review.

Healthcare 2 You offers comprehensive on-site eye examinations with the objective of maximising vision as well as the detection and management of ocular health. Our team makes convenient on-site visits, meaning elderly patients do not have to travel to their Optometrist.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, we provide tailored services which are designed to meet the specific needs of aged care clients.

Contact Healthcare 2 You for information about visits from a specialist optometry team today.