Thursday, November 8, 2007

Having Problems Seeing?

As we age, our view of the world often grows a little fuzzy. We often try to ignore the problem by holding the newspaper closer or farther away at the breakfast table, or maybe just scan the headlines. We may have trouble identifying friends or neighbors from a distance. Even more dangerous, we may not see stop signs or on-coming traffic when driving or walking.

Yet, just because we’re growing older doesn’t mean we can’t live a full life for many years more by seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking the way we used to. Let’s prepare now, and seek professional advice, before something happens that will force us to realize that we aren’t seeing the way we so confidently did five, ten and twenty years ago.

In future essays, I will touch on our other life-giving senses and how we can “hear young”, “feel young”, and “think young” no matter what our age. But first let’s examine how to protect our eyes and improve our ability to see our world the way we used to.

The good people at EyeCare America have provided five healthy hints for the aging eye, and since August was Save Your Sight Month, it's especially important for we who are over 65 years old. Even if you’re not, take this advise now to protect your eyes in the future:

• Always wear protective goggles when working with machinery and while engaging in athletic activities.

• Find out your family history of eye disease. Having a family member with an eye disease such as glaucoma can greatly increase your chance of getting the disease. So talk to your eye doctor about how you can prevent or prepare for any genetic possibilities.

• Vitamin A is great for your eyes and will help you maintain healthy vision. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, yams and dark, leafy greens. Take supplements if you can’t get enough vegetables.

• Protect your eyes from the sun. Overexposure to the sun's rays can lead to cataracts. Your sunglasses should have UVA and UVB protection. And wear a brimmed had when you’re out in the sun.

• If you or a friend is 65 or older, call EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program to see if you qualify for a free eye exam — the number is 800-222-3937 and operates all day, every day, year-round!

EyeCare America helps people of any age who live in medically underserved communities (and people who might be at risk for eye disease) with free eye exams and eye health information, so give EyeCare America a call today!

And from this day forward, examine how you are squinting or missing the clarity in your vision you used to have. With diet, a change in your eyeglasses prescription, more careful attention in your driving habits and reading habits, you can keep enjoying the wonderful visual experiences around you.

Remember, create the correct intentions to preserve your precious senses, and pay constant attention to the solutions to your visual problems, and you will enjoy every day much, much more!

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