Monday, November 13, 2006

The eyes don't have it

…A doctor once told a friend of HA’s that he could sit in a restaurant and by how far out people held the menu, could tell how many months before they needed reading glasses.

…As Paul Newman said, “Growing old ain’t pretty.”

…Mary Beth Fuller, writing in the AZ Republic (Nov 7, 2006), talks about how annoying it is to be blinged and surgically revised, but still half-blind.

…For one thing, smoking makes the eye fall apart quicker.

…You also need to wear shades and not expose eyes to ultraviolet and eat a lot of spinach, which contains lutein.

…That over-40 vision whackout is called presbyopia. Instead of adjusting like a camera lens on autofocus, the eye becomes stiffer, fixing your vision to the far distance. This requires glasses to read…either those drugstore magnifier beauties or prescription “monovision” ones that correct one eye for distance, the other for near.

…Floaters are globs of the vitreous fluid inside the eyeball. The fibers in the fluid become thicker as we age and start to move around in the field of vision. These are usually harmless and tend to be tuned out by the brain or sink down after a time.

…Glaucoma begins with blurriness in the peripheral vision (to the side), but it can progress to blindness. Glaucoma is 3-4 times more prevalent in black people, who are also more likely to suffer blindness. It’s treated with eyedrops or surgery.

…Macular degeneration results when cells on the cornea begin to deteriorate. Loss of central vision is the result. In the “dry” form, the most common, desposits dim vision. There is no treatment for this. In the ‘wet” form, blood vessels, grow, leak and scar, Fuller writes. New drugs can partially reverse the wet form.

…Smoking is especially bad for macular degeneration. It’s less common in blacks and more common in whites.

…Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness in adults. There is no cure. Early diagnosis can lead to laser surgery, which can prevent blindness if the diabetes is controlled.

…Cataracts are big in aging people. Everyone gets these if they live long enough. Sometimes these need to be removed if they interfere with vision.

…Dry eyes can result when aging tear ducts don’t quirt enough lubricant. More women than men are affected (hormones). Eating Omega-3 (salmon, flaxseed) can help. Sometimes the tearducts can be plugged to keep tears in the eyes.

…Older people also need more light to see. A 60-year-old needs 15 times more than a 10-year-old. Older people also react to glare and may need glasses with side shields (now there is a look!).

…Contrast can also be a problem as we age. It becomes hard to tell a difference between black and navy or you may trip on a curb that is in shadow. Yellow or amber-tinted glasses can help.

…Man! HA is going back to bed and pull up the kivvers! If she can spot them.

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