The International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world.” says WHO.
What can we do to integrate older people into our society more? Why are older people discriminated against?
One of the main reason of ageism is the stereotyping of elder people as dead people. This is not true at all, many elderly are fit as a young teenager. And our role is to make them grow old gracefully and healthier. One of the greatest challenges is visual impairment and blindness.
Numbers say that more than 300 million people are at risk of visual impairment worldwide. Mostly above the age of 50. With the increasing number in the elderly population in many countries, more people may suffer from visual impairment due to chronic untreated eye diseases and ageing.
Worldwide, 80% of visual impairment could be avoided or cured. How?
- Integrating eye health services in primary and secondary health systems made treatment more available and affordable.
- Educational campaigns about visual function and raising awareness
- Better governmental leadership, with increasing implementation of the private sector in the eye care process.
Types of visual impairment
- Untreated refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism)
- Un-operated cataract
If you notice that you can no longer see near objects clearly, but still can see far objects and you are above 40 years old, this means you have presbyopia.
It is not farsightedness as the former is due to loss of elasticity of the intraocular lens.
It is easily managed by wearing reading glasses or bifocal lenses. Contact lenses could be a solution too.
It is a normal variant of ageing, but still important to tackle.
Is a natural result of aging? When you approach 60, a normal increased opacity of intraocular lens happens leading to cataract.
If you frequently change your eyeglasses or started seeing halos around light sources, please visit your eye doctor immediately.
The earlier the management, the less the risk for permanent visual loss.
Surgery is the best line of treatment.
Is a serious eye disease affecting the eye starting from blind spots to permanent vision loss (blindness)?
Blurred vision, constant headaches, nausea and seeing rainbows around light sources are the main symptoms of glaucoma,
If you suffer any of those and you are above 55 please visit your ophthalmologist immediately.
After a thorough eye examination your doctor will decide if a medical, LASER, or surgical solution is the best for you.
If you leave your eye unattended, blindness will soon follow.
On the international day of older people, we have shed more light on the visual challenges of the elderly, and how to prevent such complications, allowing older people to stay healthy, mobile and fully functioning.
This could never happen without the full integration of all organizations: governmental, NGO, health care systems and of course the private health sector.