Cataracts are the leading cause of *preventable* blindness in the world, but there are other causes of blindness that aren’t preventable, and they must be dealt with.
Glaucoma is caused when fluid inside the eyeball fails to drain properly. This causes pressure to build up in the eyeball, which damages the optic nerve and causes irreparable vision loss.
There are no warning symptoms for glaucoma – which is why it’s important to have an eye checkup once a year, to catch this condition when it’s still early enough to do something about it. (Indeed, that’s the case with most diseases and conditions. The sooner they are diagnosed, the sooner they can be cured, or if not cured, controlled.)
Macular degeneration is also a serious condition. The “macula” is that part of the eye that enables you to see fine details in the center of your vision (as opposed to periphery vision.) When the macula breaks down, it causes a blind or “fuzzy” spot right in the center of your eyesight. And unfortunately, this condition usually affects both eyes simultaneously. There is no cure for this.
Then there’s Diabetic retinopathy. Capillaries in the retina leak, which causes blurred vision. In order to prevent this, you must keep your diabetes under control. (Assuming you have diabetes!) It is possible for laser treatment to seal off the leaky capillaries.
What to do if you have failing eyesight.
Prepare your environment to help you as much as possible.
1. Bright colors are easier to see than pale ones (and are more cheerful, as well). Paint the woodwork around doorways, and differentiate between the flat treads of steps and their risers.
2. More light is always a good idea. If you consistently use only 60 watt bulbs, go to 100. Use two or three lamps to give you enough light.
3. We’re always being told to conserve energy, but that has to go by the wayside when it comes to safety. As we grow older, our eyes find it more difficult to adjust from light to darkness. Therefore, you typically want to leave lights on in all the rooms of your home that you visit regularly throughout the day, so that you don’t have to enter a room and wait for your eyes to adjust (or worse, *not* wait for them to adjust, and end up tripping on something,.)
4. Night lights that illuminate hallways and the path to the bathroom are a must!
5. If you go out to dinner, chances are the lights in the restaurant will be dim. They typically are. Have a small flashlight in your purse or pocket, which you can use to illuminate your menu. As well as help you find your car key hole and door key hole and so on!
6. Large screen tvs are easier for oldsters to see than smaller screens. Many people say that it’s easier for them to see black-and-white rather than color… good luck finding a b&w TV these days, but you can always work with the color controls on the television to better effect.
7. Magnifying glasses for reading work very well
8. Large print books are available at all libraries – and if they don’t have the books you want, you can always request them through interlibrary loan.
9.Buy utensils in bright colors. Buy salt and pepper shakers in two distinct shapes, so that you don’t get confused. Indeed, color coding and shape coding are the way to go with anything in the kitchen.
As we age, our eyesight becomes increasingly important to us. Wether we are concerned about driving or finding the right senior living facility, we must keep our eyes as healthy as possible.