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How Color Perception Changes with Age

As a leader in senior home care in Westfield, we are always looking to share new and interesting information that can benefit the senior loved ones in our lives. Although we all know our senses often diminish as we get older, we really only think about sight, sound, and taste. What a lot of people don’t know is that our color perception can change as well.

Statistically, by the time senior citizens reach their mid-70s, approximately 45 percent will experience some form of color-vision loss. By the time they reach their mid-90s, that figure rises to approximately two-thirds.

Color-vision loss affects the blue-yellow spectrum and is not hereditary, whereas vision loss from color blindness involves the red-green spectrum and is often hereditary. Many factors can cause color-vision loss, but chief among them, absent medical conditions, is yellowing of the lenses in the eyes due to the effects of aging.

Symptoms include the inability to differentiate between blue and purple or yellow and green. Usually, color-vision loss occurs gradually over time and can occur at an earlier age for those who have spent considerable time in the sun without protective eyewear, as well as those who smoke and/or consume alcohol.

Although gradual color-vision loss is recognized as one of the effects of aging, a sudden change in the blue-yellow spectrum perception can be a precursor to other health issues, such as diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration. Color-vision loss isn’t generally debilitating and there are many programs for vision rehabilitation.  Helpful precautions to take in order to forestall vision problems are:

•Regular vision checkups with an ophthalmologist
•Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure
•Adhering to an exercise regimen
•Not smoking
•Protecting the eyes from scratches and infection
•Wearing protective eyewear
•Consulting with a physician about vision supplements

Although color-vision loss doesn’t generally cause major issues, it’s never a bad idea to take precautions and help your senior loved one protect his or her sight. If vision isn’t your only concern and you feel your loved one may need additional help around the home or with day-to-day tasks, call Home Care Assistance of Westfield at (908) 450-9400 to learn more about our live-in and hourly caregivers in Westfield who can provide the additional support your loved one needs.