I like to read. I have been dubbed legally blind since childhood so I have never taken my eyesight for granted. I think we all know that as we grow older, we don’t see as well as we used to. You may be able to get by with reading glasses, brighter lights or by using magnifiers, but don’t take this precious gift for granted. Decreasing vision means that you need to make adjustments. If you have been lucky enough to enjoy perfect vision for most of your life, it may be difficult to admit that you need help.
What lengths are you willing to go to preserve and enhance your eyesight? If you haven’t been to an eye doctor in awhile you may be surprised to learn that science and technology have found unimaginable ways to help you out. But wait, there is more. In addition to monitoring degrees of visual acuity, your eye doctor is able to pinpoint things that might be happening elsewhere in your body.
Shirley S. Wang ([email protected]) wrote an interesting article about some of the latest findings in the world of visual care (The Wall Street Journal: Tuesday, August 14, 2012). Diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, or other impending disasters are often noticed (a clue, so to speak) during routine visual exams. So, if you are thinking that an eye doctor is just someone who takes measurements and prescribes glasses, it is time to give them the credit they deserve. Your eye doctor is indeed a member of your health care team.
What do they mean by regular examinations? Experts suggest that everyone should have a baseline examination by the time they are 40. After that people age 40-54 should be seen every 2-4 years, people 55-65 every 1-3 years and those over 65 every 1-2 years. It makes sense to schedule an eye exam prior to your physical examination. If anything alarming is pinpointed your primary care physician can do a follow-up. Never accept a loss of visual acuity as just another sign of aging. Report any vision changes or injury immediately, but make a point of having regular eye examinations too.
Instead of resigning yourself to the inevitable, think about what you can do to help yourself. When a problem is identified, look for solutions. Regular eye care can serve as a way to reduce visual impairments and improve the quality of your life. It is unfortunate that so many people do not take advantage of eye care solutions. The reasons cited usually have to do with cost, lack of insurance, or simply because people don’t see a need. Your eye sight and your health are important if you want to live independently. It is never too late to listen and learn.