Causes for Low Vision in the Elderly

Low vision is defined by visual acuity. Another explanation includes the clarity or sharpness of your vision tends to become lower as you age, leading to low vision. Low vision also refers to a permanent loss of vision, making it difficult for someone to perform regular daily activities.


Caregiver in Markham: Causes for Low Vision

Caregiver in Markham: Causes for Low Vision


Anyone who gains low vision acquires three key symptoms:

  • First, there is impaired visual functioning despite treatment or standard refractive correction. Even after corrective surgery, there would not be a 20/20 vision.
  • Visual acuity is most often a very short light perception that exists less than 6/18 (0.3 logMAR). It may also be a visual field smaller than ten degrees from the point of fixation.
  • Finally, someone with low vision uses, at least potentially, vision for the planning and/or execution of a task. It just takes more effort.

It is important to remember that people with low vision are capable of using their vision if they want to do so. The appropriate low vision devices and training can help anyone facing this issue avoid the need for white canes or to learn Braille. Canes and Braille may provide support for some of these individuals although they are not technically considered blind.


Four Most Common Diseases Leading to Low Vision in Seniors

Most often, diseases affecting the eyes are likely to lead to low vision in seniors. Many of these diseases become more serious over the years, and as a senior gets older…

-Age-related macular degeneration – Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of loss of vision in people over 65 years of age. In AMD there is a degeneration of the macula, the area of the retina responsible for central vision. As this continues, AMD comes because of risk factors such as advancing age, family history of AMD, and links to cardiovascular risks such as hypertension and cigarette smoking. Additionally, AMD can be divided into two categories: nonexudative (or “dry”) AMD and exudative (or “wet”) AMD, though they are not really seen differently from the initial onset of AMD.

-Glaucoma – This is a group of disorders characterized by glaucomatous optic nerve damage and visual field loss. It is a significant cause of blindness nationally, and it is the most common cause of blindness among black Americans. Approximately one million Americans over the age of 65 experienced loss of vision associated with glaucoma. Additionally, about 75 percent of these people face blindness due to glaucoma.

-Cataracts – This is a common cause of elderly vision impairment and the most common cause of blindness worldwide. The potential of cataracts increases with age to approximately 50 percent in those 75 years of age and older. Exposure to ultraviolet light may contribute to the progression of cataract formation as well. Without a universally accepted definition, “cataract” typically refers to lens opacities that interfere with visual function, possibly blurred vision. Cataract progression is usually slow, with gradual loss of vision over months to years, while it may be fast for some.

-Diabetic retinopathy – Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness among middle-aged Americans and visual morbidity in the elderly population. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy rises with increasing duration of diabetes, or significant diabetic retinopathy may exist in the elderly at the time of diagnosis of diabetes. This includes two categories: nonproliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Nonproliferative is characterized by abnormalities of the retinal circulation, including microaneurysms, intra-retinal hemorrhages, cotton-wool spots, retinal edema and exudates, and intraretinal microvascular abnormalities. Most commonly, visual loss in nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy comes from macular edema, whether it is symptomatic or not.


It is easy for anyone to expect your vision to become reduced as time passes and you get older. The strength of glasses needs to become stronger and it gets harder to see. However, the diseases listed here actually damage the eye to the point that vision is lowered toward the point of blindness in some cases. This issue cannot be ignored or overlooked. As time passes with low vision it could eventually be too late for surgery to help with the issue.


Hiring a senior care provider can help with this. They can help with transportation to doctors appointments, taking notes and watching for symptoms, as well as helping to remind your senior to take their meds. Call an agency today to check on their availability.



If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Caregiver in Markham, please contact the caring professionals at  Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.







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