Changes in one’s eyes and vision can allude to several physical conditions. Knowing what signs to look for and what they might mean can help your parent get the prompt medical care they need. In many instances, immediate medical attention can make the difference between recovery and permanent, irreparable damage.
Sudden Vision Loss
Abrupt changes in vision can be both frightening and a sign of a serious physical condition. Even vision that returns promptly requires immediate medical attention. Loss of vision can be the result of decreased blood flow to the eye or brain. This may, in many cases, be due to a stroke. Other signs that suggest a stroke include weakness on one whole side of the body or parts of the body such as the face, arm or leg. Slurred speech, loss of balance and coordination, or a sudden headache also point to signs of a stroke in progress.
Other common causes include a blood clot in an artery or vein in the retina or to the optic nerve. This is more common in seniors with high blood pressure or diabetes. Acute glaucoma and bleeding in the retina due to the effects of macular degeneration can also lead to this frightening symptom. Go directly to the emergency room or call 911.
Blurred vision is one of the first signs of diabetes. The increasing amount of blood sugar within the arteries ultimately affects the tiny arteries of the retina and can eventually lead to diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, loss of vision can result. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration are two other common causes of blurred vision. Call their ophthalmologist and make an emergency appointment.
This is often one of the first recognizable symptoms of myasthenia gravis. This autoimmune disease attacks healthy tissue—in this case, the muscle cells, which results in weak muscles. It can affect all people, though most often occurs in younger women and older men. The muscles most commonly affected are the eyes, face and throat. Double vision can also result from this disease. Make an appointment with your parent’s primary health care provider.
Yellow Color in the Whites of the Eyes
This is a hallmark sign of jaundice. This yellowing is caused by excess bilirubin, a substance found in bile that is produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. When the liver fails to fulfill its function in the breakdown of this compound, yellowing of the eyes and skin results. This sign suggests problems with the liver such as cirrhosis or hepatitis; problems with the gallbladder such as blockage of the bile duct by a gallstone; or a toxic reaction to a drug or medicinal herb. If your parent is exhibiting any of these warning signs in addition to jaundice, prompt medical attention is required: severe abdominal pain; extreme fatigue, anxiety or confusion; blood in stool or blood in vomit; fever; easy bruising. If they do not have any of these, call their health care provider to explain their symptoms and make an appointment.
Senior Care Provider
Being a family caregiver requires constant vigilance and attention to details. In order to operate at your peak, you need to provide time for yourself to recharge, rejuvenate, and enjoy the things and people in your life that bring you joy. Consider obtaining the services of a senior care provider who can assist with the daily activities of living as well as prepare healthy meals and provide your parent with compassionate care.
If you or an aging family member are considering hiring senior care in Atlanta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Caring Companions of Atlanta 470-514-5954.
We provide quality non-medical services to our clients in their homes or in a facility if that’s where they live. Our staff is available for care plans for extensive care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or as little as 4 hours per visit. Reach out to us, and one of our outstanding administrative staff will meet with potential clients to assist them and their families in designing an effective, personal plan of care.