Older Americans are seeing better than their parents did in old age, thanks to improved cataract surgery techniques and healthier lifestyle choices, a recent study reported.
According to researchers from Northwestern University, there was a significant decrease in visual impairment among American age 65 and older from 1984 until 2010. The findings suggest that current tools used to diagnose, screen and treat eye disorders are effective in helping prolong vision for the elderly.
In 1984, poor eyesight caused 23 percent of older Americans to have trouble reading or seeing newspaper print. By 2010, that number had fallen to 9.7 percent. There was also a decrease in eyesight problems that interfered with daily activities, such as bathing and dressing. The study did not examine the possible causes for better vision among the elderly, but researchers suggested three likely reasons:
- Better cataract surgery techniques
- Decline in smoking, which reduces one’s risk of macular degeneration
- Improved treatment for diabetic eye diseases.
More research is needed to determine which treatment strategies work best.