Eye Problems You Need to Know About

Eye Problems You Need to Know About

Eye Problems You Need to Know About

Right now, I have egg on my face.

Did you ever pass along information to others and find out later it was only partially correct and realize the error you made? That’s me right now.

You may recall a while ago I wrote a post on cataracts. If you didn’t see it, you can check it out by clicking here.

A Typical Guy – I Thought I Knew it All

Being a typical guy, I thought the main problem aging people had to worry about with their vision was cataracts. There was nothing else.

Growing up, I learned about nearsightedness. Some people could see things close. However, they had difficulty with things further away. Then, there was farsightedness. Other people could see things far away. It was seeing things close where they had the problem.

I guess I was in my thirties when I heard about cataracts. Older people developed these.

Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Cataracts

That was the extent of my knowledge of eye problems.

You can see that in that post I wrote about cataracts.

Since then, I have learned quite a bit more and I felt I needed to correct what I told you in the past.

When I thought about writing this post, initially, I planned to let people know where those with limited incomes could get eye exams and glasses for free or at reduced charges.

We all see those commercials on television all the time for two pairs of eyeglasses and an eye exam for $59. What about those older people who have poor eyesight and can’t afford the $59?

That started my quest. In the process, I have learned much more than I ever knew before. I came to find out that people can have far more vision problems than just nearsightedness, farsightedness and cataracts.

In my post on cataracts, I mentioned my own situation. In my forties, I started to have problems reading. I had an eye exam and got glasses. Then, in my fifties I had problems seeing things further away. I needed bifocals.

I thought I first became farsighted and later nearsighted. That was wrong. I actually had a condition known as
Presbyopia

Some people after age 40 start to have difficulty seeing things closer to them. Sounds like nearsightedness, right? Wrong – there is a lens in each of our eyes which loses its ability to change shape and focus on things closer. For a time, people compensate for this by holding things further away from themselves. After a while this no longer works and they have to get reading glasses, bifocals or contacts.

That was me. I had Presbyopia – not the Farsightedness and Nearsightedness that I thought. That led to my need for reading glasses first and then the bifocals.

Here are the Other Conditions I Learned About

Decreasing Contrast Sensitivity
Are you 60 or Older? Do you find it harder to drive at night or when it’s foggy? Is it harder for your vision to adjust when you come from the dark outside into a bright room?

In each of these, you are having a problem distinguishing between an object and the background. This is decreased contrast sensitivity. The cells in your eyes that help you see in dim light, the eye rod cells, are degrading as you age.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The macula is the small central portion of our retinas. In the early stages of AMD, people lose the vision in the center part of their eyes. Over time, this can progress outward. Normally, it takes about 10 years for this condition to progress to the point where a person becomes legally blind.

Glaucoma
This is a disease where fluid builds up on the front part of a person’s eyes. This extra fluid increases pressure in the eye, eventually causing damage to the optic nerve.

People with family members who have had glaucoma are at a higher risk of developing it. Also – people of African, Hispanic or Asian heritage.

Diabetic Retinopathy
This is a condition where high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. The vessels can swell and leak or close, stopping blood from passing through them. This is the most common cause of loss of vision for people with diabetes.

Loss of Peripheral Vision
As we age, we start to lose our peripheral vision. It is common for our visual field to decrease by1 to 3 degrees for every 10 years of life. By the time we reach our 70’s and 80’s, our peripheral visual field may have shrunk by 20 to 30 degrees.

Proper Care of Your Eyes and Your Vision is Important

You should have your eyes examined once every one to two years.

Don’t be like me and let four or five years go between eye exams. I thought I knew better, but the only one I was hurting was myself.

What if You Can’t Afford an Eye Exam or Glasses?

If you have diabetes or glaucoma and are eligible for Medicare, Medicare may cover 80% of the cost.

If you are 65 or older, you may be able to get an eye exam through EyeCare America. This is a program of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. For more information, please click here.

If it is determined you need eyeglasses, you may be able to get help from a Lions Club. Please contact the Lions Club closest to you.

You also may also be able to get new glasses through OneSight. You would need a referral from your church, a Lions Club, the Red Cross or the United Way. You can find out more about OneSight by clicking here.

You may also get help for the cost of glasses through the Gift of Sight, Hearing and Dentures program at the Office on Aging. The cost of eyeglasses is covered by an interest free loan. You would be expected to repay this loan a little at a time based on your ability. To find out more, you can call 865-546-6282.

Your Vision is Important – Don’t Wait!!!

I am sure you realize how important good vision is. Don’t be like me. Have your vision checked every one to two years. If you need to get new glasses or take any steps to address a problem you may have, make sure to do it.

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If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is bob.ooablog@gmail.com