Eyes, Have You Forsaken Me?

Can a tree see better than me?

Can a tree see better than me?

I remember having my first eye exam when I was in college. The optometrist told me my eyes looked great and to come back in twenty years. I didn’t think much about it until precisely twenty years later, when I noticed I couldn’t read the menu while dining out. Of course, I blamed it on the ambient lighting and fancy font, but when the waiter offered me a pair of reading glasses, it all came back in a blink.
It turns out my lens have decided to harden up on me over the last few years. And, it turns out this is a very natural and common occurrence among us middle-agers. I am now blessed with the condition of presbyopia—an apt enough term when you consider the Greek words, ‘presbus’ (meaning old man) and ‘opia’ (meaning eye).
The only problem is I’m not an old man, or old woman for that matter!
So, why does our vision have such a limited warranty? When you think about all the things our Amazing Creator got right when designing our incredible bodies, you’d think our eyes would not be scheduled to deteriorate so soon! May I suggest there is perhaps a blind spot in the Eyesight Manufacturing Division?
Whatever the reason (and I’m sure our Great Creator has one or more), I’m choosing to see this new circumstance as an opportunity to keep me more humble, ever grateful, and reminded to never take this beautiful gift for granted. I will do my part to not forsake my eyesight by getting regular eye exams, wearing my cap & sunglasses outside, eating my blueberries & carrots, and keeping six pairs of reading glasses around the house.

Here are some guidelines for protecting your eyesight from the National Institute on Aging:

• Have your eyes checked regularly by an eye care professional—either an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
• People over age 65 should have yearly eye exams. During this exam, the eye care professional should put drops in your eyes that will widen (dilate) your pupils so that he or she can look at your inner eye. This is the only way to see some common eye diseases that have no early signs or symptoms.
• If you wear glasses, your prescription should be checked too.
• See your doctor regularly to check for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases can cause eye problems if not treated.
• See an eye care professional right away if you:
o Suddenly cannot see or everything looks dim
o See flashes of light
o Have eye pain
o Experience double vision
o Have redness or swelling of your eye or eyelid
• Protect your eyes from too much sunlight by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a hat with a wide brim when you are outside.
For more information on common eye problems and diseases associated with aging, go to: www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/eyes.htm

About Annette Cain

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete and certified personal trainer.

Known as the Longevity Lady™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy and balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer.

Comments and Feedback:

  1. Michael Molamphy, O.D. says:

    Annette, I commend you for excellent writing on your eye problem. As an optometrist, I have helped thousands of people with their presbyopia and other issues. I would not agree, though, that presbyopia is a deterioration. Generally our eyes stay healthy and capable of good vision; we just need some optical help. That is much better than an eye disease that can permanently rob our sight. Such as glaucoma, diabetes, HBP, etc. My sister and a friend are blind from unusual eye disease, so I’ve directly seen what can happen.
    The timing of eye exams, should be a lot more often than by age 65. One of my patients, a man in his early 40s, came in with presbyopia reading problems. I observed he had ocular melanoma, and this is a potentially fatal condition. It is possible that I saved his life by diagnosing his cancer.
    My rule of thumb is professional exams by age 4, then every year or two thereafter.
    Every year after 55 or so.
    BTW, there are techniques to help presbyopia with contact lenses. My classmate and friend in Seaside, Edmundo Fimbres, O.D.,. can answer questions also.

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