Supporting your Parent after a Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration
HOME CARE IN MINNEAPOLIS MN
Age-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of blindness in those who are 60 years or older in United States, and it affects approximately 11 million people. There is much fear and concern (derived) from a diagnosis of macular degeneration. How long do I have before my eyesight is affected? If my vision is already diminishing, how much longer until I can no longer see? Addressing your loved ones fears, or having them speak to someone who can, goes a long way in easing their concerns and enjoying the days ahead instead of dreading them.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration effects the macula, a small area located in the center of the retina that is responsible for central vision. Once it starts to degenerate, vision becomes blurry until objects that you would normally see when looking straight ahead are no longer visible. It progresses at different rates for different people. For some, it is a very slow progressive disease. For others, it quickly affects their vision until one, or both eyes can be legally diagnosed as blind.
Slowing Down the Progression
Although not definitively proven, there are some steps your parent can take that may slow down the progression of this disease. The number one risk factor that can be eliminated is smoking. Those that smoke are at twice the risk of developing macular degeneration. The other factors that may play a role are diet and exercise. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 containing wild-caught fish such as salmon contain nutrients that are known to support eye health. These include the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein. Vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and minerals copper and zinc have also been associated with eye health. Exercise that supports eye health centers around aerobic activity such as biking, walking at a (continuous) pace, and swimming. Both these help maintain an appropriate blood pressure and cholesterol levels, vital to the health of the eyes. It is also important to protect eyes from direct UV sunlight. Drugs that your doctor may recommend include EYLEA, lucentis, macugen, avastin, and photodynamic therapy.
Options as Vision Wanes
Vision rehabilitation services are available. While your parent’s eyesight may not be able to be restored, there are professionals that can help them lead an active life despite their loss. These services include instructions on how to live independently and the best way to complete certain tasks associated with daily living. They also can assist them with determining which devices that help with vision loss would best be suited to them. They suggest ways to keep their environment safe, despite their vision loss. A home care provider can also help create a safe environment by removing clutter, ensuring pathways are unobstructed, and preparing healthy meals.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Minneapolis, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.