WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SENIORS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT VISION LOSS?
“It can’t be said often enough: a healthy body has a better chance of maintaining healthy eyesight. The eyes are an important part of the body, so they benefit from exercise and a healthy diet as well. This is particularly the case with eye diseases that are linked to other health problems, such as diabetic retinopathy. Also, be sure to get your eyes tested regularly—that can’t be overstated either. Some eye diseases, such as glaucoma, don’t show symptoms until later stages. Seeing your optometrist or ophthalmologist on a regular basis will allow you to stay on top of any potential issues.”
Dr. Chad Andrews, Research & education manager, Foundation Fighting Blindness.
“Deteriorating vision is not an uncommon concern for the aging population. Not
only can it affect your vision, but also your quality of life. The best thing for seniors who are concerned about their vision to do is to go for routine check-ups. Early detection is key and often enough there may be no warning symptoms. Check your provincial health care system as most areas in Canada cover an eye exam for seniors every year. Be sure to take your prescription to a registered optician who will ensure that you obtain not just better vision, but the best vision possible.”
Lorne Kashin, Executive director, Ontario Opticians Association.
“Being in this age category, I advise seniors that come into our optical office
of the importance surrounding yearly eye exams. A full eye exam will include a health care check of the visual system, diseases of the eye may be caught early. Vitamins and a good diet are also a component of my advice as a healthy lifestyle will support healthy eyes. One should as well consider having a retinal photo taken as a benchmark to compare at next visit. Other general topics will include monitoring blood sugars and exploring family health history. I always remind my clients about the ever-increasing dangers of ultra-violet rays and wearing sunglasses to help prevent damage. Mostly if you notice a problem, get checked right away.”
Gary Maynard, OAC board of directors, Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Vision is arguably the most important sense and all too often we take it for granted. Everyday occurrences like reading the morning newspaper or driving to the grocery store can quickly become a thing of the past if regular eye exams are not prioritized. Glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts are among the top leading causes of progressive vision loss. Eye care professionals can identify these irreversible conditions before symptoms arise and can refer you to an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in diseases and surgery of the eye, for proper treatment.”
Steve D. Levasseur, Clinical Instructor, University of British Columbia; Diseases and Surgery of the Vitreous and Retina; Retina Surgical Associate.