Vision Changes: What You Need to Know

July 6, 2019

Changes in vision that occur with age include decreased visual acuity, farsightedness, changes in color perception, decreased sensitivity to light and decreased ability to adapt to glare.

The lens of the eye becomes more opaque with age and allows less light to go through it. Thus, an older person has poor vision in low light or cannot adjust quickly to changes in light level.

Differential hardening of the lens causes uneven light refraction so that the holder person becomes more sensitive to glare. The elevator muscles of the eyes weaken with age. An older person experiences reduced range of upward and downward gaze.

Lighting can contribute to the safety and comfort of the elderly person who experiences fading eyesight, less alertness and/or uncertain balance. More general lighting is required to illuminate the whole room. More task lighting for reading and handiwork is required. To keep the same reading speed one had at age 20, the 50 year old needs 50% more light, the 60 year old needs twice as much more light, and the 80 year old needs three times as much light.

The amount of light is not the only important factor. The quality of light is just as important to avoid glare. To minimize glare distribute the light evenly throughout the room. Avoid drastic changes in lighting level from one area to another and from one room to another. Use wall and ceiling fixtures with diffusers instead of frosted or clear glass globes.

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Written by guest blogger Glennie Daniels