Senior Scene October 16,2017

Last week I was busy extoling you with the virtues of having a proper fire evacuation plan so I did not have the opportunity to talk about World Sight Day – the 2nd Thursday of every October. This is the most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar.
This year’s call to action was: “Make Vision Count”; remember 4 out of 5 – 80% of the world’s blind are avoidably so. Avoidable blindness is defined as blindness which could be either treated or prevented by known, cost-effective means. Although there are many other causes of vision impairment, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) seeks to address the main causes of avoidable blindness, in order to have the greatest possible impact on vision loss worldwide. Your sight is precious and as you age, it is critical to have regular eye examinations.
Early detection is an integral part of the successful treatment and prevention of eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma before they lead to major visual changes. Serious eye conditions can develop without obvious symptoms so vision health management needs to be a key component of your overall healthcare plan. Make a regular visit (annually if you are 70+ years old) to your optometrist part of your annual health assessment. The cost of a comprehensive eye examination is covered by OHIP once a year for persons 65 and over.

The onset of most vision problems happen with warning signs and symptoms. If you are 60 years or older, you should immediately visit your physician or optometrist if you notice the following:
• Increased dryness or tearing
• A drooping eyelid
• A film over the iris (coloured portion of the eye), or fading of the coloured portion
• Diminished peripheral vision
• Seeing spots or shapes that float in one’s field of vision
• Blurred or distorted vision
• An eye that fails to tear or blocked eye ducts
• Reduced ability to discern colours, especially shades of blue, beige, and brown
• Development of an eye infection or suffering from swelling around the eyes
• The eyes are troubled by light or glare and unable to adjust to the change
Statistics show that 91 percent of adults between the ages of 75 and 85 will have cataracts. Early detection will permit professional monitoring and ensure surgical procedures are pursued at the optimal point in the disease.

Here are some tips for improving your eye health, and overall health:
• Eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables as they are the best source of beta-carotene for a healthy macula
• Reduce your intake of fat and control obesity
• Quit smoking
• Wear sunglasses to prevent the harmful effects of UV rays on your eyes. This is particularly important in the winter as well when the glare of snow heightens the damaging effects of the sun
• Exercise – improving your circulation keeps the blood vessels in your eyes healthier as well

And just because I cannot resist – A woman walks into a store to return a pair of eyeglasses that she had purchased for her husband a week before “What seems to be the problem madam?” “I’m returning these glasses I bought for my husband. He’s still not seeing things my way.”