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The health workers must have contact with the geriatric clinic in the nearby hospital or with the PHC or its sub-centres. The elderly may be advised to visit these centres for appropriate health care. Periodical visits to their homes to distribute medicines to them and offer counselling will keep the aged fairly happy and free from anxiety and insecurity. The old age can thus be made an enjoyable stage of life. The care of the elderly should be comprehensively planned and executed.

PART B

Ageing and the Eyes

A decline in eye sight is not inevitable with ageing but some physical changes occur during the normal ageing process that can affect the vision. Some maintain good eye sight even in their advanced years. Older people generally need brighter light for their day to day tasks and the regular house-hold bulbs are better for their eyes than the tube lights. The elderlies are to be advised to have regular health checkups to detect such treatable diseases as High Blood Pressure, Diabetes mellitus, which are important causes for eye ailments. A periodic thorough eye examination once in 2 or 3 years is a must even in the absence of eye symptoms. This will enable a check for glaucoma and the need for using glasses to improve vision and detection of early cataract. More frequent consultations with eye-specialist are necessary if the individual is known to be suffering from Diabetes or High Blood Pressure or if there is a family history of eye disease. Symptoms like diminution in vision, pain in the eye, excessive discharge from the eye, double vision, redness, swelling of the eye or eye-lids should make the individual consult an Eye specialist. The common eye complaints in the elderly are: Presbyopia, Dry eyes, Excessive tears, Cataract, Glaucoma and Retinal disorders.

Presbyopia is a gradual decline in the ability to focus on near objects or to see small print and is common after the age of 40. Those with presbyopia often hold reading materials at arm's length and some may complain of headaches or tired eyes while reading or doing close work. This is not preventable but can be managed with suitable glasses.

Excessive tears may be a sign of increased sensitivity to light, wind or temperature changes. Protective measures such as sunglasses may help the patients. Some times eye infection or a blocked tear-duct may also cause excessive tears and need treatment Dried eyes result from the tear glands producing too few tears. This causes irritation, burning of eyes or a poor vision. An eye specialist prescribes special eye drops to help the patients.

Cataract is the occurrence of opaque areas in part of the lens or whole of it in the eye. It can occur in one eye or both eyes. In health, the lens is clear and allows the light to pass through. When cataract forms, light cannot easily pass through the lens and this affects vision. Cataract may develop without pain, redness or tears in the eye. Some of them remain small and do not affect the vision seriously. Surgical removal is necessary when the cataract become larger in size or denser. Cataract surgery is a safe procedure that is available in many eye camps and hospitals and consultation with the eye specialist is necessary regarding advice for surgery. Vision is

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