Eyesight is one of our most fascinating and complex senses. It allows us to see the colors of the sunset, watch our grandchild smile for the first time, and read books that transport us to other lands. Unfortunately, many seniors begin to lose their eyesight much too soon. It may be subtle at first – the television is a bit more blurry or cross-stitching is a little more difficult. Many seniors rely on bifocals, trifocals, or even surgery to correct their sight.
Luckily, technology is being developed every day to improve how we live and how we see. The advances in helping eyesight and eye health are particularly significant. Here are two of the newest and most interesting ways that scientists are helping us maintain our eyesight through old age:
Contact lenses for glaucoma sufferers
Seniors with glaucoma are often given eye drops to manage the effects and symptoms of the condition. Unfortunately, the drops are not the best way to get the medicine to the eyes. When the eye drops are put in, some drips out of the eye. Depending on the amount lost, the senior may be getting a different dose of the drug each time. The drops are also absorbed in to the eye all at once, giving the body a huge dose of the medicine, then nothing.
But scientists have found a more effective method. They created contact lenses coated with the needed glaucoma medicine. When the wearer of these lenses produces natural tears, the medicine is released into the eye. That way, none of the dose is lost and the medicine amount is consistent through the day. And this may just be the beginning of medicine-coated lenses. Doctors are already working to create more for other eye conditions.
Printing new eye cells
Many conditions involving eyesight loss include damage to the retina, the area in the back of the eye that receives visual information and transmits it in a way the brain can understand. When those cells are damaged, there is no way for the brain to “see” the image and sight loss occurs.
But now scientists have figured out how to print retina cells. Although the trials are still on animals, they have successfully printed retina cells and implanted them in rats. The cells work and transmit the sight information as expected. This huge breakthrough could mean that people who will lose their eyesight years down the road will have a second chance at seeing again.
With the eye being such a complex organ, it is amazing what doctors and scientists can do to rebuild or correct it. Soon, with the help of these advancements, many seniors will be able to savor the sunsets for much, much longer.
Freedom Home Care provides the highest quality of in-home senior care. If you or someone you know could use assistance in their home, give us a call.