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Caregiving

Top 5 Eye Problems Resulting From UV Exposure

We all know that UV radiation is harmful to our skin, but did you know that it can also cause a number of eye problems? These problems can range from minor irritation to severe damage that can lead to vision loss. Let’s take a look at the top five eye problems that can be caused by UV exposure!

5 Eye Conditions Caused By Sun Exposure

UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. It has a shorter wavelength than visible light, making it invisible to the human eye. Sources of UV lights are the sun, video display terminals, high-intensity mercury vapor lamps, xenon arc lamps, and welder’s flash.

 Exposure to UV radiation can cause several eye problems, including:

1. Photokeratitis

Photokeratitis is an eye condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial light sources like tanning beds. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, and decreased vision. Treatment of photokeratitis usually involves resting your eyes, using cold compresses, and taking over-the-counter pain relief medications. If the condition persists or worsens, you should see an eye doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

2. Pinguecula

Pinguecula is a condition that can cause yellowish, bumpy growths on the white part of your eye. These growths are caused by long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Over time, these rays can damage the proteins and cells in the eye’s outermost layer. This damage can lead to the development of pinguecula.

Pinguecula is a relatively common condition, affecting an estimated 2 to 3 percent of all Americans. It is seen more often in people who spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly in sunny climates. People with fair skin and light-colored eyes are also at higher risk for developing pinguecula.

Most people with pinguecula do not experience any symptoms. In some cases, however, the condition can cause redness, irritation, and blurred vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see an eye doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

3. Pterygium

A pterygium (wing) is a wedge-shaped piece of flesh that projects from the corner of the eye. A pterygium may be congenital but more often is an acquired condition. It may be caused by various factors, including sun exposure, dust, fumes, and wind.

Pterygia are benign and do not metastasize, but they may grow large enough to cause astigmatism, blurred vision, or even blindness. Sometimes, pterygium can grow large enough to cover part of the pupil and affect vision. If this happens, you may need surgery to remove the pterygium. Pterygia can be alarming, but they are usually painless and do not require any treatment unless they grow large enough to cause problems with vision.

4. Cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye condition that results from sun exposure. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the proteins in the lens of your eye, causing them to break down and clump together. This leads to a decrease in vision and, eventually, cataracts.

While most people associate cataracts with aging, young people can also develop this condition. In fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), about 20 percent of Americans with cataracts are under age 40. 

Aside from UV exposure, there are several other risk factors for cataracts, including diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, certain medications (such as steroids), and previous eye injury or surgery.

You may experience symptoms such as blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, and increased sensitivity to light if you have cataracts. In the early stages, you may be able to improve your vision with new glasses or contact lenses. However, if cataracts progress, you will likely need surgery to remove them.

5. Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the retina that controls our fine vision. It’s estimated that 1.75 million people suffer from this condition, primarily affecting those over 60. Although many cases are mild and don’t result in vision loss, some can be more severe and lead to a decline in vision or even blindness. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. 

Dry macular degeneration is the most common type, accounting for about 80-90% of all cases. In this form of the disease, your macula slowly breaks down over time due to a buildup of waste products called drusen. While dry macular degeneration usually doesn’t lead to vision loss, it can progress to the wet form of the disease.

Wet macular degeneration is less common but more serious. In this form of the disease, abnormal blood vessels grow under your retina and leak fluid or blood. This can cause permanent damage to your macula and lead to a rapid decline in vision. Wet macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness. There is no cure for it yet, but there are treatments that can slow its progression and help preserve your vision.

Is someone from your family suffering from eye problems due to UV exposure? We know the struggles of being an unpaid caregiver to a loved one with disabilities like eye vision problems. To help you manage the stress and gather emotional support during these challenging times, we recommend you check the CircleOf app today!

The CircleOf app simplifies planning, communication, and finding resources for unpaid caregivers and patients. Download the app and give it a try. It’s free!

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Caregiving

What Are the Different Types of Rehabilitation Facilities?

Some people are more likely than others to need special medical care. For example, if someone you care for has had a stroke or brain injury, they may require physical rehabilitation services at a facility that can help them recover their mobility and resume living life fully again.
A person with Parkinson’s disease might also find value in these types of programs that focus on improving strength training techniques so as not to worsen symptoms caused by rigidity from decreased muscle control.
There are various types of rehabilitation facilities, each with its focus and level of care. The type of facility that’s right for someone will depend on their individual needs.

Long-term Acute Care Facilities

Long-term acute care facilities (LTACs) are a specific type of facility that provides care for patients with complex medical needs. LTACs are often used when patients no longer need the level of care provided by a hospital but still require more care than can be provided at home or in a nursing home.
LTACs usually have a team of specialists who work together to create a treatment plan for each patient. This team may include doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals. The goal of treatment is to help patients improve their health and quality of life.
Patients in an LTAC often have chronic illnesses or face multiple health problems. They may need help with activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing. They may also need assistance with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) are another type of rehabilitation facility that provides care for patients who have had a recent hospital stay and need more time to recover before going home. IRFs are designed to help patients regain their independence. The care team at an IRF will create a custom rehabilitation plan for each patient. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide around-the-clock care for people recovering from severe injuries or illnesses.
According to occupational therapist Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L, of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta and founder of MyOTSpot.com, “Inpatient rehabilitation is the most aggressive, with patients having 3 hours a day of therapy about five days per week.” The length of stay at an IRF will vary from patient to patient. Some patients may only need a few days of care, while others may need a few weeks.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are rehabilitation centers that provide care for people who need skilled nursing or rehabilitation services. SNFs can be stand-alone facilities or part of a larger hospital complex. Services typically provided in an SNF include 24-hour RN coverage, Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech Therapy, and long-term care.

A Skilled Nursing Facility is necessary when an individual can no longer complete activities of daily living (ADLs) on their own and requires assistance. The most common reason a person needs an SNF is because they are recovering from a surgery, illness, or injury and need help with activities such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and eating. Some people also need skilled nursing care if they have a chronic illness such as dementia, heart failure, or diabetes.

How Therapy Helps

Physical rehabilitation facilities offer medical care and therapies to help patients recover from an injury or illness. There are many different types of therapies, but the goal of each one is to help patients regain their independence. 

The role of therapy in getting patients stronger is to help them regain lost function and improve their quality of life. therapies in physical rehabilitation facilities are a key part of this process, as they can help patients relearn how to perform everyday activities and build up their strength. “They are instrumental in working together to address each client’s deficits and improve independence and their level of function,” Stromsdorfer says. All these therapies aim to help the patient live as independently as possible.

  • Occupational helps patients regain their ability to perform activities of daily living. Occupational therapists teach patients how to do everyday tasks, such as dressing, eating, and bathing.
  • Speech therapy helps patients regain their ability to communicate. In addition, speech therapists work with patients to help them improve their speaking skills.
  • Physiotherapists can help them regain movement in their limbs.
  • Physical therapy helps patients regain their strength and mobility using exercises and other techniques to help patients improve their movement.

Find Your Options for Rehabilitation Services

As a family caregiver, you should be familiar with all the options for rehabilitation services to ensure that your loved ones are getting the best care they need. According to Stromsdorfer, the hospital’s therapist assesses the patient’s level of function and determines the best rehab for their case. “Don’t feel like you are alone in this decision as your acute care therapists and case managers are trained to help you with this decision,” she added.

If you’re finding it hard to decide the best rehab options, it is better to ask for help from a circle of care that may include family members, friends, and the community. With this, our CircleOf app can help. We keep you connected with your support networks and even provide resources to discover new caregiving tools, experts, and information.

When you’re overwhelmed with all the family caregiving ideas, download the app (for FREE) and get things done the stress-free way!