A landmark research initiative to better understand eye health for long-term care residents was recently launched by The Centre for Healthy Aging at Providence, in partnership with the Department of Ophthalmology at St. Paul's Hospital and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
Vision loss can be devastating to seniors, putting them at a much higher risk for falls, depression, and even death. By age 65, one in nine Canadians will have a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with ordinary lenses. This number increases to one in four by the age of 75. Yet, according to estimates, at least half of this vision loss can be improved and one quarter is preventable.
Called the Elders Eye Health Initiative, the research focuses on the prevalence and causes of visual impairment in a large group of elders from nine care facilities in the Vancouver area. The goal is to identify barriers to accessing eye care services and recommend improvements to the quality of care.
Early results suggest that residential care populations may not be receiving timely eye health examinations. The Centre for Healthy Aging's eye health research could lead to a new eye health program for elders, which would include guidelines and protocols for annual eye examinations .