0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

In This Article

Perils of old age: Hand-eye coordination in elderly
413

Perils of old age: Hand-eye coordination in elderly

Experts advise the elderly to keep practising activities that require hand-eye coordination to avoid its decline that happens with age
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health

Hand-eye coordination is the ability to control hand movements in coordination with what we see. This is an essential skill for performing everyday tasks such as writing, driving and cooking. However, with age, hand-eye coordination can become impaired, making it challenging to complete these tasks for the elderly. This is partly due to changes in the brain and nervous system that occur as we age. However, hand-eye coordination can work poorly even if a person’s vision is not affected.   

Dr Nitya Nanda Sarma, a 78-year-old doctor from Guwahati, effortlessly carries out everyday tasks that require him to use his fine motor skills (making movements using hand muscles). “I have a neurological condition that makes my left-hand tremor at times, which is manageable. However, I can still drive and write effortlessly. Although I have slight problems with my vision, lenses help me to cope,” he says. 

The doctor attributes his hand-eye coordination to the practice of asanas like padmasana (cross-legged meditation pose or lotus pose) in the morning. This prevents joint stiffness, nervous system issues and other degenerative changes that occur with age. “I have been religiously performing these exercises for the last ten years. It helps me keep fit,” says Dr Sarma.     

Why hand-eye coordination declines with age    

“When our eye observes an object, the brain will process it based on how sharp the eye is. The brain then directs muscles (hands) to act on the visual cue,” says Dr Shiva Kumar R, neurologist, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru.  

Age-related eye disorders like diabetic neuropathy and diabetic retinopathy (that leads to vision loss), which affect one’s vision and senses, can also cause this disorder, according to Dr Nitin Menon, a neurologist from P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai.    

He further explains, “In diabetic neuropathy, one might lose the ability to sense objects with their hand due to damaged nerves. This can also affect hand-eye coordination.”

Dr Kumar adds that people over the age of sixty are susceptible to ministrokes, which can damage crucial brain coordinating centers. “Ministrokes are several small strokes that go unnoticed. It can cause weakness in the hand and might also cause vision and memory loss,” he adds.    

Many people stop playing sports or any activity that requires visual-motor coordination because they feel old. “People having poor hand-eye coordination as they age is mostly related to reduced participation in activities that maintain this very coordination. If such activities are not practised regularly, a person’s hand-eye coordination will decline,” says Dr Menon.  

Ways to improve hand-eye coordination

  • Perform hand-eye coordination exercises daily

Dr Menon says, performing everyday activities like sewing, playing catch with both hands, cutting vegetables, writing, for at least fifteen minutes two-three times a day is enough to improve hand-eye coordination in the elderly.

He adds that those who have lost their coordination skills due to a specific neurological issue require specialised care and evaluation by an expert to determine which functions have been lost. 

  • Take up specific outdoor activities

Swimming, tennis, tai-chi and pickleball are activities that can help you develop your visual-motor coordination. They help your eyes perceive and your brain to transmit signals to your hand. “The majority of your activities should include using your hands and eyes. Reflexes, balance, strength, flexibility and range of motion will all be enhanced as a result,” explains Dr Kumar. 

When to get help: Hand-eye coordination test

People experience eye fatigue and have trouble reacting by moving their hands or body as they get older. “However, I have encountered people who have poor hand-eye coordination despite having excellent motor abilities and great vision. This is brought on by the various ways in which our body, eye, and brain interact. Here, eyes and motor skills do not work together,” explains Dr Kumar. 

According to Dr Kumar, if you notice symptoms like limb numbness, dizziness or memory loss, consult a neurologist. 

“A physical examination and neurological tests or, if necessary, an MRI, are conducted to see whether one is experiencing any of these symptoms,” he explains. 

 Takeaways   

  • Hand-eye coordination is a person’s capacity to effortlessly manage their hand movements based on the visual cues they receive from the brain.  
  • Neurological disorders are to blame for the decline in hand-eye coordination skills in the elderly. It is affected due to conditions like diabetes that lead to loss of vision and senses. Although, this decline can also be seen in people with functioning eyes and motor skills.
  • Experts say practising simple activities like writing, driving and sewing every day along with playing sports like swimming and tennis will actively improve hand-eye coordination.  

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Summit Registration

NOTE: The summit will be held at NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bengaluru.

Wellness Registration Form

-
-
-
Total Amount INR 3000
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts
Article
The risk of heart attacks and strokes for middle-aged, overweight people with high blood pressure is 35 percent higher compared to those with a healthy body weight 
Article
Summer drinks, though hydrating, can have excess sugar. Nutritionists suggest a few alternatives to keep the body temperature and sugar levels down
Article
Packed with protein, this recipe will help in weight management by keeping you full for a long time
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts

0

0

0

Web Stories 

0

0

0

0

0

0

Opt-in To Our Daily Healthzine

A potion of health & wellness delivered daily to your inbox

Personal stories and insights from doctors, plus practical tips on improving your happiness quotient

Opt-in To Our Daily Healthzine

A potion of health & wellness delivered daily to your inbox

Personal stories and insights from doctors, plus practical tips on improving your happiness quotient
We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest