If you’re concerned about your vision as you age, there is one thing you can do to keep it as healthy as possible. Sure, eating well, exercise, not smoking, and regular eye exams all work to help you maintain your vision, but this one thing that researchers uncovered that can protect your vision will surprise you.
The new study findings have unveiled that if you want to maintain your vision and have healthy eyes, you should have strong family ties and social connections. The researchers from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center found that these social ties increased the likelihood of seniors undergoing vision-saving cataract surgery along with providing motivation for seniors to take better care of their vision.
The researchers speculate that these social ties benefit seniors because their loved ones will speak up about the individuals changing vision, which prompts them to have it checked out.
The study observed 9,760 participants over the age of 65 with Medicare. The researchers found that those with two family members or less were 40 percent less likely to receive cataract surgery compared to those with three or more family members.
Another factor was the type of relationships which had the biggest effect. Spouses and partners of patients had the least effect on the decision to have cataract surgery whereas patient’s children had the biggest effect.
The researchers suggest that because adult children see their aging parents less often than a spouse or partner, they may notice vision changes more. Furthermore, parents may be more accepting of help from their adult children. Older adults may be too embarrassed to ask friends for help compared to their older children.
Cataracts cause vision to become blurry, but it is the most commonly treated vision problem.
Study author Brian Stagg concluded, ‘A nuanced understanding of the impact of social support networks is important to develop as we implement strategies to improve access to cataract surgery for a rapidly growing older population.”