As a retired eye doctor, I’m putting my two cents in. I would be surprised if he didn’t have dry eyes. Hylo is the best brand of over-the-counter eyedrops. Each drop is sterile and preservative free. They’re more viscous than many of the other eyedrops. For many people, they’re more comfortable than prescription eyedrops and a lot less expensive.

Another common problem as people age is double vision. Most eye doctors simply recommend an eyepatch, which is an awful idea. Find someone who knows what binasal occlusion is and how to use it correctly. Sometimes a week prism correction is needed.

If dad never had cataracts removed, I guarantee you he has cataracts that are disrupting his vision. Depending on his overall health, you might want to have those addressed or leave them alone.

Does dad have prescription glasses? Or is he supposed to have them and doesn’t wear them? Many older people who have had cataracts removed think they are supposed to be seeing perfectly without glasses, but that just isn’t so.

There are many other conditions that are more prevalent as we age and can be easily treated. If dad has a regular eye doctor start there. If that doctor can’t answer your questions get a referral to a specialist who can.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to DrBenshir
liz1906 May 5, 2024
How excellent it is to have a subject expert respond. Thank you. Some care givers may not realize eye health appointments are necessary as we age.

As a note of interest to care givers, I recently meet an eye surgeon who made home visits to his non ambulatory patients.
Why are you and your sister ‘so worried’, to quote your profile? Your father is 95 and his life is moving to a close. That is nothing to worry about. Be glad if he is not in pain, ‘his mind is bright’, and his behavior to you is still good. Closed eyes are not a problem. That’s something to be very very grateful for, not to worry about.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
Patartsy May 5, 2024
Because They want more for their loved one.
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While this is common with dementia you do not mention that so I am going at this from another angle.
It takes muscles to keep the eyes open. So if dad is tired he just may find it easier to keep his eyes closed.
You also mention that dad has vision problems. If his vision has become worse it may be difficult to process what he is seeing. (things like double vision, blurry vision, dark spots, a lot of "floaters" these can all be annoying)
And I guess I have to ask you this...have you asked him why he is keeping his eyes closed?
If he is due for a doctor visit you might want to mention this. Many doctor offices can do a basic eye exam.
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Reply to Grandma1954

My dad does it all the time He’s 91. He’s listening to every thing just resting his eyes
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Arkh64

I don’t know if it’s common but that’s what my cousin does. She has early onset ALZ and started keeping her eyes closed all the time now, even while conversing. She’s 71.
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Reply to Geaton777

Your father has vision and eye disease......I have a condition that makes my eyes very sensitive to light. So it's more comfortable for me to keep my eyes closed under certain circumstances. You may also want to take him in for an eye exam to see if anything has changed. At 95, things can change on a dime and often do.

Good luck to you.
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Reply to lealonnie1

You have on your profile that you don’t think he has Alzheimer’s , and his mind is very bright .
Have you asked him why he’s closing his eyes ? Is he aware he’s doing it ? Does he use any eye drops for dry eyes ?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to waytomisery

As the brain loses it's ability to function, receptive information, through the senses like sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, and speech uses lots of energy. The simplest and easiest way for the brain to protect itself from too much is to shut eyes. This is the brain/body's way to survive or function more effectively when there is a sensory overload (which does not take much). It is a natural behavior to preserve strength for the brain. When talking, if eyes are shut, the brain can give more energy to speaking, etc.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to RetiredBrain
MaryKathleen May 5, 2024
This sounds like what is happening to me. I am almost 90 and I find I shut my eyes more and more.
I would speak to this 95 y/o. Perhaps his site is troublesome and he does this for a reason. Could be anything from eye strain to allergies, to dry eyes, to vision changes, etc.
If this elder is unable to adequately explain I would see an eye doc for a short check up.

There can be about 50 reasons for this. I myself have profound differing vision in my eyes. My right eye had a vitreous separation with scaring that made it's site profoundly different from a very healthy almost young at 81 left eye. Because they are so different, in some close up work or reading I will often automatically close my right eye.

So speak with your elder first. And ask his eye doc second. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AlvaDeer

My mother (96) with moderate dementia began keeping her eyes closed about 4 years ago. At the time she was getting physical therapy. The therapist told me that because the eyelid is a muscle, if she persisted in keeping her eyes closed, eventually she wouldn't be able to open them.


So I would tell her "open your eyes". If I had a nickel for every time that I told her to open her eyes - over the course of about 2 years - I would have a lot of nickels.

Eventually I gave up and now she keeps her eyes closed 24/7 except for the few seconds that I pry them open to apply her glaucoma drops.

I hope that your dad can be convinced to keep his eyes open before he loses the ability.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to southiebella

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