The combination of visual impairment and chronic disease has serious consequences for overall health, the ability to perform tasks and social participation.
According to the CDC, chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, kidney failure, diabetes and depression are more common among older people with visual impairment.
Furthermore, the combination of visual impairment and chronic health conditions is shown to have serious consequences for overall sense of well-being, the ability to perform daily tasks and participation in social activities.
Kidney failure, stroke, chronic lung disease and depression are particularly affected by visual deficiencies. So people with the combination of these disorders are more likely to describe their health as fair or poor, compared to those without visual impairment.
Visual impairment impacts the effectiveness of healthcare services. For example, visual impairment hinders efficient progression through needed rehabilitation services, leads to misunderstanding of instructions from healthcare providers and impacts access to healthcare resources and services.
The bottom line – take care of your eyes. Here are some important suggestions.
- If you have diabetes, get it under control and seek regular professional eye care
- For non-diabetics, an eye examination at least every two years is recommended for early diagnosis of conditions associated with aging – cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma
- Uncontrolled hypertension and cholesterol disorders impact visual health. Take charge of your health by following recommendations to normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eat a Mediterranean style diet.
- Finally, if your visual acuity is falling off, get it checked. Early diagnosis lessens the impact, especially for those with the chronic conditions described.
Reference: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018. Online [available at]: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/living/index.html Accessed March 9, 2019.