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Cataract, glaucoma and Co: number of eye diseases will increase dramatically
According to health experts, the number of eye diseases in Germany alone is likely to increase by up to 30 percent by 2030 due to demographic change. In many cases, the diseases can be prevented.
More and more patients with eye diseases
Eye diseases are one of the main causes of vision loss. Since they increase above all in old age, the number of eye diseases is likely to rise by up to 30 percent due to the demographic change in Germany alone. Many diseases could be treated effectively through early detection and therapy. According to experts, however, this requires better ophthalmological care for the elderly.
Poor access to ophthalmic care
The University Hospital of Münster (UKM) refers in a recent communication to the results of a study that shows that people in old people's homes often have rather poor access to ophthalmological care.
For its OVIS study in 2016, the German Ophthalmological Society looked at the data from 35 old people's homes and found that around 40 percent of older people in the facilities had never visited an ophthalmologist in recent years - some have never been there during their lifetime .
It is therefore not surprising that patients with what turned out to be acute treatment needs did not even know about their own problem.
Different eye diseases
The typical eye diseases of old age include cataract, i.e. the clouding of the lens. This often manifests itself through seeing “as if through a veil”.
The cataract (also called cataract) is age-dependent: "Just as the hair turns gray, the lens also becomes cloudy," explained Raphael Diener, assistant doctor at the eye clinic of the UKM.
It is also known that factors such as smoking, alcohol and being overweight have an impact on the risk of developing cataracts.
Other age diseases of the eyes include macular degeneration as a disease of sharp vision, as well as diseases of peripheral vision and visual field restrictions.
Glaucoma (glaucoma), which is an optic nerve disease, would typically be mentioned here.
In addition, patients with diabetes mellitus should be monitored by an ophthalmologist, for example to identify and treat diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disorder.
Better education for seniors
"In view of the large number of eye diseases that can affect people in advanced age, the realization that older people in particular have below-average ophthalmological care is not a good development," said Prof. Nicole Eter, director of the eye clinic at UKM.
"That is why this year we are going to the homes in order to educate people on the occasion of the week of seeing."
But what do older patients have to adjust to? In general, you can of course also be affected by eye diseases in younger years. Nevertheless, older people from the age of 60 should pay attention to their own eyesight.
"If they suddenly see worse or even distorted, there is usually an illness behind it. Sometimes the ophthalmologist can help by prescribing (sharper) glasses. Sometimes an operation is necessary. But you can also benefit from surgery at any age with a view to the quality of life, ”says Diener. (ad)