The Secret to Protecting Your Eyesight

The Secret to Protecting Your Eyesight

 

 

 

 

Can you avoid age-related degenerative eye disease? Our eyesight naturally diminishes to some extent as we age, but regardless of our age, our eyes should provide us with good service for a lifetime. New research reveals that age-related eye disorders can be prevented and possibly even reversed. The key to maintaining good vision depends on your diet. (Sources listed at bottom)

The body has an amazing ability for self-repair. If we get a cut, a bruise, break a bone, or suffer some other injury, the body knows exactly what to do to repair the damage. In time, the cut is completely healed, damaged blood vessels in a bruise are repaired, and broken bones are fused back together, in many cases the repair is so complete that there is little or no trace that an injury ever occurred.

Like other tissues, peripheral nerves throughout our bodies have a high capacity for regeneration after injury, however injury to nerve cells within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) do not. In fact, for many years it was believed that brain tissue, could not be repaired or regenerated. Once an injury occurred, the neurons, or brain cells, were gone forever. It was thought that the brain cells we were born with were all that we would ever have. We now know that this is not correct, brain cells can be regenerated and new brain cells do grow and develop just like other cells throughout the body.

The eyes are extensions of the brain and consist of neurons or nerve cells similar to those in the brain and, likewise, have the potential to regenerate. The light sensitive portion of the eye is the retina, which lines the inside of the eyeball. When light hits the retina it sends nerve impulses to the brain. These impulses are sent to the brain through long thread-like appendages of the retina that combine to  form the optic nerve.

Any damage that occurs to the retina or optic nerve can cause visual impairment and if serious enough, complete blindness. When injured, the retina and optic nerve generally have little ability for self repair and eventually die, eliminating any chance for regeneration. Injury to the optic nerve usually leads to lifelong visual impairment.

The most common degenerative eye diseases that involve damage to the retina and optic nerve are glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. These three conditions cause the vast majority of irreversible vision loss in people living in affluent countries.

 

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is believed to be caused, in part, by abnormal pressure within the eye. The eyeball is filled with a viscous fluid that helps maintain the shape of the eye and circulate nutrients. This fluid is constantly entering and leaving the eyeball. If it enters faster than it exists, the pressure within the eye builds up damaging the retina and optic nerve. Treatment is focused on lowering fluid pressure with the use of medicated eye drops, drugs, laser therapy, surgery, or some combination of these. However, once the retinal cells are damaged they are considered gone for good.

 

 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by inadequately controlled diabetes. High blood sugar causes the blood vessels feeding the retina to degenerate and become leaky. This distorts the retina leading to permanent damage. Besides trying to get blood sugar under control, treatment may involve laser surgery to burn or cauterize damaged blood vessels to keep them from leaking. This permanently scars the retina, but may prevent or slow further vision loss.

 

 

 

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the slow destruction of the macula—the portion of the retina that is needed for sharp, central vision. In macular degeneration central vision is lost first and gradually progresses out affecting side or peripheral vision. Vision loss is permanent. The cause of macular degeneration is unknown and there is no effective treatment. When macular degeneration occurs later in life it is usually referred to as age-related macular degeneration to distinguish it from other forms that may be inherited and appear early in life.

 

 

 

 

For many years the inability of damaged retinal neurons and optic nerve to regrow was accepted almost as a “law of nature,” and on the clinical level, retinal injury was seen as being irreversible and corresponding vision loss was permanent. Today medical researchers are starting to unlock the secrets of neuronal regeneration. Under the right conditions, injury to the retina and optic nerve can be healed. A growing number of studies over the past two decades have demonstrated that the retina can be transformed into an active regenerative state allowing these neurons to survive injury and to regenerate the damaged optic nerve.

Almost all clinical studies using drugs as a means to protect the retina, optic nerve, and other components of the eye have failed. However, a special group of naturally occurring proteins called brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNFs) show great promise. BDNFs play a key role in regulating survival, growth, and maintenance of neurons. They help support the survival of existing neurons and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons.

Normally, injury to the optic nerve induces a rapid die-back leading to retinal cell death. However, when an adequate amount of BDNFs are present, the effects of injury are diminished and the optic nerve and retina can be repaired or regenerated.

Animal studies have shown that after cutting the optic nerve in adult rats, retinal cells progressively degenerate until, after two months, a residual population of only about 5 percent of these cells survive. When BDNFs are present, however, survival rate significantly increases. For example, in one study researchers cut the optic nerves in a group of rats. The injury to the optic nerve caused a rapid, progressive degeneration and death of the retinal neurons. After 3 weeks, only 10 percent of the retinal neurons survived. After 5 weeks, the number dropped to 8 percent, and by the 7th week only 5 percent remained. In a second group of rats BDNFs was injected into their eyes before the optic nerve was severed. In this group, two to three times as many retinal neurons survived compared to untreated controls.1

Studies show that after cutting the optic nerve, BDNFs not only protect the retinal neurons from dying, but promote regrowth. The retinal neurons sprout new growths that elongate and form functional connections with other neurons. In lab mice that have had their optic nerves severed, BDNFs allowed the animals to recover the ability of light-dark discrimination.2 In essence, researchers have been able to restore partial sight to blind mice.

We always have some BDNFs circulating in our central nervous system that helps protect our brains and eyes from degeneration. However, people with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration have a deficiency of BDNFs, which makes them more susceptible to neurodegeneration and visual problems.3-4

BDNFs provide the potential for preventing degenerative vision loss and possibly even partially restoring lost vision. In animal studies, BDNFs can be injected directly into the eyeball to boost levels of these protective proteins. Clinically, this process is not feasible because in order to maintain therapeutic levels of BDNFs, multiple injections are needed over a period of time to maximize the benefit.5

 

 

Fortunately, BDNFs are produced naturally in our bodies. Using this fact, another approach to raise BDNFs to therapeutic levels is to boost the body’s own production of these protective proteins. This can be done quite simply through diet.

 

 

 

Ketones

 

The production of BDNFs is stimulated by the presence of ketones. Ketones are produced from fatty acids stored in body fat and provide an alternative to glucose as a source of fuel for the brain.

Normally, our cells, including our brain cells, use glucose as their primary source of fuel. Most the glucose in our bodies comes from carbohydrates in our foods. When we eat a meal, carbohydrates are converted into glucose and released into our bloodstream.

Between meals or when we don’t eat carbohydrates, blood glucose levels fall. Our cells need a continual supply of energy to function, so when this happens, fat stores in the body are mobilized and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. Our cells can use fatty acids for fuel just like they do glucose.

 

 

The brain, however, cannot use these fatty acids and must have an alternative source of fuel. Some of these fatty acids are converted into ketones, which are readily used as fuel by neurons. Ketones not only supply the brain with energy, but also trigger the production of BDNFs.

 

Suggested: The Ketogenic Bible by Dr. Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery, PhD

 

One way to increase the body’s levels of BDNFs is to eat a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.

 

A low-carb diet keeps blood glucose levels low, which causes the release of fatty acids and the production of ketones. A very low-carb or ketogenic diet stimulates greater ketone production and higher BDNF levels. Therapeutic levels of BDNFs can be attained and maintained for an indefinite period of time on a very low-carb diet.

 

 

 

 

 

Another way to raise ketones, and consequently BDNFs, is by eating coconut oil.

 

Coconut oil is composed predominately of the unique group of fatty acids known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When consumed, a significant proportion of these MCFAs are automatically converted into ketones, regardless of blood glucose levels. You can raise blood ketone and BDNF levels simply by adding coconut oil into your daily diet.

If you eat enough coconut oil, you can raise blood ketones and BDNFs to therapeutic levels. This would require the consumption of 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. A smaller amount would be needed if you combine coconut oil with a very low-carb diet.

 

 

Final Thoughts

If you want to preserve your vision and protect yourself from encountering age-related degenerative eye disorders that affect the retina and optic nerve, your safest and most effective approach would be to incorporate coconut oil into your daily diet.

If you have already experienced some vision loss due to glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, combining coconut oil with a low-carb diet can help you prevent any further vision loss and possibly even regain some of your lost vision.

 

Recommended Reading:

Bruce Fife, CN, ND, a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician. He is the author of over 20 books including The Coconut Oil Miracle and Stop Vision Loss Now!

 

References

1. Mey, J and Thanos, S. Intravitreal injections of neurotrophic factors support the survival of axotomized retinal ganglion cells in adult rates in vivo. Brain Res 1993;602:304-317.
2. Watanabe, M, et al. Survival of axotomized retinal ganglion cells in adult mammals. Clin Neurosci 1997;4:233-239.
3. Ola, MS, et al. Reduced levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the serum of diabetic retinopathy patients and in the retina of diabetic rats. Cell Mol Neurobiol 2013;33:359-367.
4. Gupta, v, et al. BDNF impairment is associated with age-related changes in the inner retina and exacerbates experimental glaucoma. Biochim Biophys Acta 2014;1842:1567-1578.
5. Ko, ML, et al. Patterns of retinal ganglion cell survival after brain-derived neurotrophic factor administration in hypertensive eyes of rats. Neurosci Lett 2001:305:139-142.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Find the Right Pair of Reading Glasses

How to Find the Right Pair of Reading Glasses

 

 

When you reach the point of not being able to read up close without stretching your arms to the limit, you may need to consider single-vision reading glasses.

Generally, people who have never needed glasses in the past will start out with a pair of reading glasses rather than bifocals or no-line progressive lenses, which are usually a better choice if you have a need for distance as well as near correction.

 

 

Types of Reading Glasses

 

Reading glasses come in two main styles: full frames, in which the entire lens is made in the reading prescription, and half-eyes, the smaller “Ben Franklin” style glasses that sit lower down on the nose.

Full reading glasses are suitable for people who spend a great deal of time concentrating on material close-up. If you try to look up and across the room through the reading lenses, everything appears blurry.

 

Example: TruVision Crystal Clear Unisex Full Frame Reading Glasses,

 


 

 

In contrast, half-eye reading glasses allow you to look down and through the lenses for near work, and up and over them to see in the distance.

 

 

 

 

Also available are tinted reading glasses, also known as sun readers, with UV protection for wearing outdoors in the sun.  Another outdoor option is a sunglass bifocal, with a nonprescription upper half for looking far away and a reading prescription in the lower half for close up.

 

Sun Reader Examples: 

 

 

Viscare Unisex Spring Hinged Bi-focal Sun Readers

 

 

Computer Eyewear

 

Don’t confuse reading glasses with computer eyewear. If you’re using reading glasses to try to view your computer screen, it’s probably not working very well. For one thing, reading printed matter is done at a closer range than reading text on a computer screen.

When you work at a computer for any length of time, it’s common to experience eye strain, blurred vision, red eyes and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). This is because the visual demands of computer work are unlike those associated with most other activities.

If you’re under age 40, eye strain or blurred vision during computer work may be due to an inability of your eyes to remain accurately focused on your screen or because your eyes have trouble changing focus from your keyboard to your screen and back again for prolonged periods. These focusing (accommodation) problems often are associated with CVS.

 

 

 

Why Computer Glasses?

computer glasses from Gunnar Optiks include special lens coatings to reduce glare and a tint designed to eliminate eye strain.

 

Computer glasses differ from regular eyeglasses or reading glasses in a number of ways to optimize your eyesight when viewing your computer screen.

For example, computer glasses from Gunnar Optiks include special lens coatings to reduce glare and a tint designed to eliminate eye strain.

Computer screens usually are positioned 20 to 26 inches from the user’s eyes. This is considered the intermediate zone of vision — closer than driving (“distance”) vision, but farther away than reading (“near”) vision.

Most young people wear eyeglasses to correct their distance vision. Reading glasses are prescribed to correct near vision only. And bifocals prescribed for those over age 40 with presbyopia correct only near and far. Even trifocals and progressive lenses (which do have some lens power for intermediate vision) often don’t have a large enough intermediate zone for comfortable computer work.

Without computer eyeglasses, many computer users often end up with blurred vision, eye strain, and headaches — the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Worse still, many people try to compensate for their blurred vision by leaning forward, or by tipping their head to look through the bottom portion of their glasses. Both of these actions can result in a sore neck, sore shoulders and a sore back.

Though they sometimes are called “computer reading glasses,” it’s best to call eyewear designed specifically for computer use “computer glasses” or “computer eyeglasses” to distinguish them from conventional reading glasses. Computer glasses put the optimum lens power for viewing your computer screen right where you need it for a clear, wide field of view without the need for excessive focusing effort or unhealthful postures.

University research also shows computer eyewear can significantly increase worker productivity.

 

 

Lens Designs for Computer Eyewear

 

Many special purpose lens designs work well for computer glasses. Because these lenses are prescribed specifically for computer use, they are not suitable for driving or general purpose wear.

The simplest computer glasses have single vision lenses with a modified lens power prescribed to give the most comfortable vision at the user’s computer screen. This lens power relaxes the amount of accommodation required to keep objects in focus at the distance of the computer screen and provides the largest field of view.

 

Eye fatigue is a common symptom of computer vision syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome causes eye fatigue, which can make you feel tired in general.

Single vision computer glasses reduce the risk of eye strain, blurred vision and unnatural posture that can cause neck and back pain, and can be used comfortably by young and old computer users alike.

Another popular lens design for computer glasses is the occupational progressive lens — a no-line multifocal that corrects near, intermediate, and, up to a point, distance vision. It has a larger intermediate zone than regular progressive lenses for more comfortable vision at the computer. But this leaves less lens area for distance vision. So these lenses are not recommended for driving or other significant distance vision tasks.

Other lenses used for computer glasses include occupational bifocal and trifocal lenses. These lined multifocal lenses have larger zones for intermediate and near vision than regular bifocals and trifocals, and the position of the intermediate and near zones can be customized for your particular computer vision needs.

Also, if your reading glasses are the type that force you to lean your head back in order to view your monitor, you’re placing unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Computer users really should invest in prescription computer glasses.

When choosing ready-made reading glasses, always examine the lenses for little bubbles, waves, or other defects. Insist on the best quality, and if you can’t find it in ready-made readers, buy a custom-made pair, which many eye care practitioners offer at special prices.

 

 

Prescription Reading Glasses – Are They Better?

 

Reading glasses can be custom-made for each individual through an optical dispenser, or they can be purchased “ready-made” at a pharmacy or department store.

Ready-made readers became popular in the 1990s: three times more pairs were purchased during that decade than ever before, at an estimated rate of 30 million pairs per year. They are less expensive than custom eyewear, allowing you to own several pairs for a small amount of money.

Ready-made reading glasses are available in lots of fun styles and colors, too, so you can experiment with fashion, purchasing a somewhat outrageous pair of glasses without risking a lot of money.

If you don’t like the style, you can always get another inexpensive pair with a more conservative look. Pre-made reading glasses also allow you to stash extra pairs in different rooms of the house, as well as in your car, office, briefcase, purse, boat, and so on.

One drawback to purchasing ready-made (“drugstore”) reading glasses is that they are essentially “one-size-fits-all” items. The prescription is the same in both lenses, and the location of the optical center of the lenses is not customized for each wearer.

Most people do not have exactly the same prescription in both eyes, and almost everyone has at least a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions.

Astigmatism is probably the most misunderstood vision problem which accounts for a different prescription for each eye.

Like nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism is a refractive error, meaning it is not an eye disease or eye health problem; it’s simply a problem with how the eye focuses light. In an eye with astigmatism, light fails to come to a single focus on the retina to produce clear vision. Instead, multiple focus points occur, either in front of the retina or behind it (or both).

Astigmatism usually causes vision to be blurred or distorted to some degree at all distances. Other symptoms of uncorrected astigmatism are eye strain and headaches, especially after reading or other prolonged visual tasks.  Squinting also is a very common symptom.

 

 

Variable Focus/Adjustable Reader Glasses

 

Headaches, eye strain, and even nausea can result from wearing reading glasses that are too far off from your actual prescription or that have optical centers too far away from the center of your pupils. This is where the variable focus/adjustable reader glasses can really help.

Recognizing the “one-size-fits-all” limitations of conventional multifocal lenses, and the expense of multiple eyeglasses with single vision lenses, eyewear manufacturers have come up with an innovative solution: variable focus eyeglass lenses.

As an example, Adlens variable focus eyewear features an exclusive frame and lens combination with self-adjustable lenses that enable the wearer to focus on objects at any distance.

 Each variable focus lens in Adlens glasses contains an elastic membrane within a chamber between two thin, lightweight polycarbonate lenses. When fluid is injected into this chamber by turning a removable knob on the side of the frame, the elastic membrane bows inward or outward within the chamber, which changes the power of the overall lens system.

For example, Adlens variable focus glasses are designed for use as a temporary or spare pair of glasses, and the power of the lenses can be customized instantly to correct from -6 diopters (D) of nearsightedness to +3 D of farsightedness with the simple turn of a dial.

They also can be adjusted for special visual needs, including reading, or used to manage fluctuating vision for people with poorly controlled diabetes or after eye surgery.

 

In an interview conducted by First Vision Media Group in August 2013, Graeme MacKenzie, Director of Industry Affairs at Adlens, had this to say about the versatility of Adlens glasses:

“Given their utility — the fact that you can just adjust the lens power — they can be used in a really wide variety of situations. A lot of people use them at home in their home office environment because you can focus at different distances. A lot of people use them as a pair of monovision glasses, so one eye is set on the computer screen and the other is set on the keyboard. And that was quite a surprising find to us — how easy it is for people to adapt to that and use the glasses in that way.”

 

Adlens introduced Sundials in early 2014. The lightweight “spare pair” sunglasses offer UVA and UVB protection and have temple dials that adjust for near or far vision needs from -6D to +3D.

In October 2013, the company’s Adlens Adjustables line received a Silver Stevie Award at the 10th annual International Business Awards in Barcelona, Spain. The product was recognized for its utility, craftsmanship and technology in the “Best New Product of the Year” category in Health and Pharmaceuticals.

Adlens was founded in 2005 by James Chen, a Hong Kong-based businessman, and Dr. Joshua Silver, professor of atomic physics at Oxford University in the U.K. In addition to selling variable focus eyewear to consumers online and via select retailers, the company has established philanthropic programs to bring accessible vision correction to the developing world, particularly to areas where little or no affordable eye care is available.

Dr. Silver also is CEO of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford.

 

 

Other Convenient Reading Accessories

 

Handy accessories for temporary use, such as an evening in a dimly lit restaurant, include tiny foldable readers that fit in pen-sized cases and magnifiers that hang around your neck like a pendant.

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pocket magnifiers – you may have also  seen plastic lenses mounted in credit card-sized holders that slip easily in a wallet — horrible for reading a book, but fine for those moments of desperation when you just want to know if the menu says “filet de boeuf” or “foie gras.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking for Presbyopia

 

If you’re over age 40, the problem may be due to the onset of presbyopia — the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability. This, too, can cause CVS symptoms.

Presbyopia usually occurs beginning at around age 40, when people experience blurred near vision when reading, sewing or working at the computer.

You can’t escape presbyopia, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. Even people who are nearsighted will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision.

 

The eye's lens hardens with age, resulting in blurred near vision. This is called presbyopia.

 

The eye’s lens stiffens with age, so it is less able to focus when you view something up close.

Presbyopia is widespread in the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, in 2014 more than 150 million Americans were age 40 and older, and the country is growing older: The median age reached 37.7 that year, up 2.4 years since 2000. This growing number of older citizens generates a huge demand for eyewear, contact lenses and surgery that can help presbyopes deal with their failing near vision.

More than a billion people in the world were presbyopic as of 2005, according to the World Health Organization, and 517 million of these did not have adequate correction with eyeglasses. In developing countries, glasses are available in urban areas, but in rural regions they are unavailable or expensive. This is unfortunate, because good near vision is important for literacy and for performing close-up work.

 

 

Presbyopia Symptoms and Signs

 

When people develop presbyopia, they find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. When they perform near work, such as embroidery or handwriting, they may develop headaches, eye strain or feel fatigued.

What can you do? For starters, have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out vision problems and update your eyeglasses prescription. Studies show that even small inaccuracies in your prescription lenses can contribute to computer vision problems.

If your glasses are up-to-date (or you don’t need prescription eyewear for most tasks) and you continue to experience eye discomfort during computer work, consider purchasing customized computer glasses. These special-purpose glasses are prescribed specifically to reduce eye strain and give you the most comfortable vision possible at your computer.

 

The Danger of Forgoing an Eye Exam

 

The other, more serious problem with using pre-fabricated reading glasses has less to do with the glasses than with one of the reasons that people purchase them.

Some people head to the drugstore instead of the eye doctor when they notice that it’s time for a stronger correction. In fact, a recent survey of presbyopes revealed that 17 percent purchased readers because they “didn’t want to bother with an eye exam.”

Common sense and good eye health dictate that you should consult your eye doctor when you need a change in prescription, or at least once every two years. The need for a new pair of reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural aging process at work. But it might also signal a serious problem with your eyes that can be treated if caught in time.

Glaucoma, for example, is a serious eye disease that has no symptoms at first but can steal your vision if it’s not controlled with medication. A simple test can detect glaucoma in its early stages, but you’ll need to visit your eye doctor for an eye exam in order to have the test.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Picking out your first pair of reading glasses involves finding something that feels comfortable and looks great. You’ll want to find specs that fit with your personal style and look natural on your face, no matter how infrequently they’re used. Choose a retailer that accepts returns, and have fun finding the perfect pair(s)!

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Smooth Recovery From Cataract Surgery

How to Have a Smooth Recovery From Cataract Surgery

 

 

Cataracts are small clouding of your eye’s lens that can greatly affect your vision. As people age, cataracts often form in their lenses and can cause your vision to blur or become impaired at night.

 

There are numerous types of cataracts, but the most common are age-related cataracts and affect large numbers of elderly populations. Fortunately though, cataracts are easily treatable and can be completely removed from your eyes with a simple surgery.

 

 

If you have noticed a slight clouding of your vision or have noticed that glares bother you greatly, then contact your eye doctor for an appointment. They can diagnose you with a simple appointment and can talk with you about your treatment options.

 

 

Risk Factors

 

 

Age is the most common risk factor for developing cataracts. As people age they may start to develop blurry vision. People tend to notice the first decreases in their vision around age 40 or 50. Often, this is the beginning of cataracts. Other risk factors for developing cataracts include: Family History, Diabetes, Glaucoma, Trauma, Smoking, UV Light and Steroids.

 

Patients with a strong family history of cataracts and other eye diseases will have an increased risk of developing cataracts as they age. If you have a family history of any eye diseases, then you need to be seeing an eye doctor regularly. An eye doctor can watch for the signs and symptoms of cataracts and determine the proper course of treatment for you as you age.

 

Diabetes is another risk factor for developing cataracts. Constant exposure to high blood sugar can damage your eyes and put you at a greater risk for developing many eye disorders, including cataracts.

 

Glaucoma in itself is not a risk factor for developing cataracts, however many simple surgeries that help reduce your symptoms of glaucoma can actually increase your risk for cataracts. This is due to the trauma your eyes will undergo during surgery.

 

Trauma of any kind, including an injury or surgery, can greatly increase your risk for developing cataracts in your lifetime.

 

Other lifestyle choices including smoking, constant exposure to UV light, and persistent steroid use can increase your overall risk for developing cataracts.

 

 

Causes and Symptoms

 

Most people who do develop cataracts have a few questions. Often, at the top of their list, is how their cataracts developed. Your eyes are phenomenal, and can allow you to see a great amount of detail all around you. They work similarly to a camera lens. Human eyes have a lens that lies directly behind your iris and your pupil. This lens will focus light onto your retina. Certain neural connections will transfer the light into an image that your brain recognizes and you will be able to see everything around you.

 

The lens of your eye is composed mostly of proteins. These proteins are arranged very intricately to allow the most light into your eyes. As you age, the proteins will begin to degrade and you may develop small clumps of protein in your lenses. These clumps of protein are cataracts. As you continue to age, they can grow larger and make your lens cloudy. The cloudiness comes from your lens not being able to refract light perfectly.

 

At first, cataracts will not typically cause any symptoms. Once they begin causing symptoms, they have grown significantly and are becoming detriment to your vision. Once symptoms do develop they can include: blurry vision, double vision, faded color vision, sensitivity to glares and vision distortion.

 

 

Treatment

 

Once diagnosed, the main treatment for cataracts is surgery. Cataract surgery is an elective surgery that is almost never considered an emergency. For this reason, if you do have cataracts then you have the decision to keep your vision as is, or to undergo surgery. However, cataracts can cause blindness if left untreated for many years.

 

 

Cataract extraction is a simple surgery that can be completed in an eye surgical office. If you have cataracts in both of your eyes, then surgery can be completed on both eyes, but at different times.

 

During surgery, an eye surgeon will numb your eye and extract your cataract by removing or dissolving your lens. Then, he will place a new lens in your eye and give you perfect or close to perfect vision. Many older people do opt to have surgery, because after surgery, they do not have to use glasses or contacts to improve their vision.

 

If surgery is not for you, then you could wear glasses or contacts to improve your vision. However, corrective glasses may not work for everyone, and will not cure your cataracts. The only cure for cataracts is to remove them surgically.

 

 

Complications of Cataracts

 

Cataracts are one of the most common reasons for blindness around the world. If they grow too large, then they can impede your vision greatly and cause you to lose sight in the affected eye. However, most people go to the eye doctor long before their vision is greatly affected by their cataracts.

 

While cataracts need to be taken out to completely restore your vision to its optimum level, some people opt to keep their cataracts. For these people, their largest risk would be blindness. However, if they see their eye doctor regularly then they can watch the size and shape of their cataracts to ensure that they do receive proper treatment before they lose their sight. There are no other complications of cataracts that are known.

 

 

 

Healing After Cataract Surgery

 

 

Your cataract surgery recovery should be short and uneventful, as long as your health is good and you don’t have other major eye problems. Statistics also show that your chances of a good outcome and sharper vision after surgery are excellent.

 

Uncomplicated cataract surgery often takes no longer than about 10 minutes to perform. But immediately after the surgery, you will need to rest in a recovery area until you are less groggy from sedation or anesthesia. Typically this takes about 30 minutes to an hour.

 

You must have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. You’ll be given a pair of sunglasses to wear on the trip home to protect your eye from bright light and glare.

 

If you are sleepy or tired when you get home, you might want to rest in bed for a few hours. Depending on your cataract surgeon’s advice, you may be able to remove the protective shield placed over your eye within several hours after the procedure.

 

Just remember that you will need to tape the shield back over your eye at night or during naps, for protection while you recover from cataract surgery, at least for several days.

 

 

What Is the Typical Cataract Surgery Recovery Time?

 

Don’t be alarmed if your vision seems cloudy, blurry or distorted after you first remove the eye shield. It can take some time for your visual system to adjust to the removal of the cataract and adapt to the intraocular lens used to replace your eye’s natural lens.

 

During this adaptation period, some patients even report seeing “wavy” vision or distortions. This phenomenon, if present, should last only an hour or so.

 

You may also develop red and bloodshot eyes because of temporary damage to blood vessels on the surface of the “white” of your eye (sclera) during cataract surgery. As your eye heals, the redness should dissipate very quickly within several days.

 

If you received an injection of anesthesia through the skin into the lower portion of your eye, you may notice some bruising similar to a black eye. This, too, should fade within a few days.

 

Many patients report clear vision within several hours after cataract surgery. But each person heals differently, and you may need as long as a week or two before you see images in their sharpest focus.

 

Typically, you will have a follow-up appointment with your cataract surgeon the day after the procedure to make sure there are no complications. If you don’t notice any improvement in blurry vision or you feel eye pain or significant discomfort in the days following this visit, you should report this to your surgeon.

 

Sometimes people report some dry eye or “scratchiness” after cataract surgery. But these sensations should subside as your eye heals, unless you already had problems with dry eyes prior to having the procedure.

 

Your cataract surgery recovery should be complete in about a month, when your eye is completely healed.

 

 

How Can You Achieve the Best Cataract Surgery Recovery?

 

You might be surprised at how good you feel and how easily you will be able to resume normal activities even the day after cataract surgery.

 

However, you should observe a few precautions during the first week or so, to make sure you avoid developing an infection or sustaining an injury to your eye while it heals.

 

 

Your eye doctor typically will prescribe antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help reduce any internal inflammation.

You’ll need to apply the eye drops several times daily for about the first week during your cataract surgery recovery.

 

 

Depending on the amount of postoperative inflammation you have, you may need the drops for a few weeks to a month. Make sure you use these eye drops exactly as prescribed.

 

Oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be prescribed, if needed. Typically, however, you should feel only slight discomfort after cataract surgery.

 

 

Tips For a Safe and Speedy Recovery

 

  • Don’t drive on the first day.
  • Don’t do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks.
  • Immediately after the procedure, avoid bending over, to prevent putting extra pressure on your eye.
  • If at all possible, don’t sneeze or vomit right after surgery.
  • Be careful walking around after surgery, and don’t bump into doors or other objects.
  • To reduce risk of infection, avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week.
  • Don’t expose your eye to irritants such as grime, dust and wind during the first few weeks after surgery.
  • Don’t rub your eye, which is a good idea even when you aren’t recovering from surgery.

 

Protective eye patch

A protective patch will be placed over your eye following cataract surgery. (Image: Vance Thompson Vision)

 

 

Generally speaking, you should be able to perform these activities within a few hours of your surgery:

 

  • Computer work
  • Light TV watching
  • Showering or bathing

 

For the best cataract surgery recovery possible, follow your doctor’s detailed instructions about how to protect your eye following your procedure. Usually these instructions will be given to you as a handout that you can take home with you on surgery day.

 

If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, your surgeon usually will wait at least a few days to two weeks for your first eye to recover before performing a procedure on the second eye.

 

 

Cataract Surgery Recovery and Typical Outcomes

 

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States. More than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, and most people have excellent outcomes with no cataract surgery complications.

 

Past studies show:

 

  • Almost 96 percent of eyes that had no other problems such as other eye diseases prior to a cataract procedure achieved at least 20/40 uncorrected distance visual acuity, which legally is good enough to drive without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • In all eyes, including those with pre-existing eye conditions other than cataracts, almost 90 percent of all patients had good outcomes.
  • Fewer than 2 percent of eyes had sight-threatening complications.

 

In rare cases, sight-threatening cataract surgery complications such as endophthalmitis — an inflammation of the inside of the eye, usually caused by an eye infection — can occur.

 

People who experience serious complications often have other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

 

A relatively common complication of cataract surgery that usually can be treated easily is posterior capsular opacification (PCO), which can cause your vision to become cloudy months or years after cataract removal. A simple laser procedure called a posterior capsulotomy usually can clear up the cloudiness and restore sharp vision.

 

 

 

Recommended Eye Health Supplement:  Bausch + Lomb PreserVision AREDS 2 Formula

PreserVision AREDS 2 Forumla is the#1 recommended brand by eye doctors for people with moderate-to-advanced Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD),1  and has over 1,425 excellent reviews by consumers.

Manufactured y Bausch + Lomb which is the leader in eye vitamins,2  this advanced PreserVision Formula contains the exact same levels of all six nutrients based on the latest clinical evidence from the AREDS2 study.3 Completed in 2013, the Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) was a five-year study conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health.4

 

1 Wolters-Kluwer Pharma Solutions, B+L Brand Management Report, 5/13/11
2 March 2009 Retinal AMD Tracker, Decision Analysts, Inc.
3 The Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group. Lutein + Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration [published online]. JAMA. 2013;309(19):doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997
4 NEI Press Release: NIH Study Provides Clarity on Supplements for Protection Against Blinding Eye Disease, www.nei.nih.gov/news/pressreleases, accessed May 17, 2013

 

You may also be interested in:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Your Guide to Type 2 Diabetes

High Blood Pressure – Take Control

Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

Help for Low Vision

The Right Lighting for Fall Prevention

Safe Shoes for the Elderly

Modifying Your Bathroom for Safety 

Pick the Right Shower Chair or Bath Bench

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

About Me

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The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

 

 

Seeing Clearly Helps Seniors Maintain Balance and Avoid Obstacles

 

One of the top ways to prevent falls in older adults is to make sure that their living space is always well-lit.  Being able to see clearly helps seniors maintain balance and avoid obstacles.

Updating lighting in key locations is a quick and inexpensive way to reduce fall risk and help seniors stay independent.

As we age, poor lighting situations that may not have posed a problem at a younger age are now a potential risk. These may include poorly lit corridors or rooms, or nighttime trips from the bed to the bathroom. (Photo above:  Mr. Beams Stick Anywhere Light)

 

The physiological changes include:

 

  • Less light gets to retina (1/3 to 1/5 compared to younger people)
  • More sensitivity to glare
  • Slower adaptation to changes in lighting
  • Lack of contrast sensitivity, less fine detail
  • General yellowing that affects sensitivity to blue and violet color hues

 

To facilitate aging in place, there are many modifications that can help combat these changes, from the simple to the more complex.

First, it’s important to understand that more lighting does not necessarily mean better lighting.

Color temperatures, placement, and intensity all affect whether additional lighting is a benefit or hindrance. Improvements can be broken up into two applications: ambient lighting and task lighting.

 

 

Ambient Lighting

 

Since older adults have more sensitivity to glare and slower responses times to changes in lighting levels, it is important to provide even, consistent lighting in rooms and corridors. Experts suggest about 30 fc (footcandles) or 30 lumens/ft for these environments.

 

Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

 

  • Use indirect lighting to create a more diffused lighting source and prevent glare. Place lights close to the ceiling and ensure LEDs or bulbs are concealed from direct view. Avoid halogen bulbs which can easily cause glare.

 

  • Seek light sources with a color rendering of at least 80 to combat yellowing vision. Phosphor-coated LEDs can help provide a warmer color.

 

  • Even during the day, glare can be caused by direct sunlight through windows. Install blinds and curtains.

 

  • Be mindful of how lighting affects our natural rhythms and general well-being. Experts suggest higher blue light levels during the morning hours, slight intensity dimming in the afternoon turning to reddish light levels in the evening.

 

  • Too much light in the evening can disturb melatonin levels and disrupt sleep patterns, which is troubling for older adults already prone to poor sleep. At night, take advantage of nightlights and bounce lighting off the floor to illuminate a path instead of using brighter top-down lighting.

 

  • Lighting connected to motion sensors and ambient lighting levels are a great and inexpensive addition, especially at night to illuminate paths to the bathroom. Additionally, dimmers can provide extra control for any occasion and throughout the day, and they are inexpensive.

 

 

Task Lighting

 

Task lighting should supplement ambient lighting by providing more direct intensity to activities such as reading, cooking, eating, or sewing.

 

LEDs are particularly useful since they provide direct and intense lighting in a small and lightweight package while consuming very little power and generating little heat, compared to traditional bulbs.

 

Here are some suggestions for task lighting:

 

  • Consider swing-arm LED lights placed next to bed, tables, or reading chairs. Be careful to mitigate any potential glare by placing the light below eye level and focused on the task.
  • Install LED light strips under cabinets and over countertops.

 

 

 

Practical Lighting Solutions for Fall Prevention in Your Home

 

Wireless motion sensing lights

 

Sometimes seniors don’t remember to turn on the lights or feel they don’t need them. Removing the need to turn on the lights is a great way to make sure rooms, stairs, and hallways are always bright enough.

 

Wireless, stick-on or plug-in, motion-sensing lights make it easy and quick to automatically light up dim areas like stairs, long hallways, or deep closets. They could also be used as a night light on a bedside table.

 

Here are two excellent options:

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

For easy removal, use Command Mounting Strips instead of regular foam tape to attach the lights.

 

Touch Lamps

 

Arthritis and loss of finger flexibility and strength can make it difficult to turn regular lamp knobs. Seniors are more likely to use proper lighting if it’s easier for them to turn lamps on.

 

A touch switch let’s you change any regular outlet into a touch activated on/off switch. Use mounting strips to attach the sensor in a convenient place.

 

This plug adapter lets you convert any lamp (with metal) into a touch-sensing lamp that turns on and off just by touching the metal part.

Some customer reviews say that, with the plug adapter, the light could sometimes turn on by itself because of (normal) minor power surges. Using a power surge protector strip instead of plugging directly into the wall socket seems to help.

 

 

Automatic Night Lights

Regular night lights that plug into wall outlets are a great choice for bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

These automatic LED night lights are small, low-maintenance, and bright.  They will turn on automatically in low light and remain on until morning light.

Shop for nightlights.

Check Bulbs and Batteries

 

These lights are easy to find and to install, but it’s important to check batteries and bulbs every couple of months to make sure everything is still working.

Add a recurring reminder to your calendar. That way, you won’t have to try to keep these tasks in your head.

 

Bottom Line

 

These lights might use some extra electricity and batteries, but improved lighting is one of the simplest ways to reduce your senior’s risk of falling.

The “cost” of a fall, both to your senior and to you, is huge compared to the actual cost of maintaining a well-lit living space.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Practical Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

Macular Degeneration – What You Need to Know

Have a Smooth Recovery from Cataract Surgery

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. Because people in this group are an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss from macular degeneration is a growing problem.

AMD is degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Because the macula primarily is affected in AMD, central vision loss may occur.

About 1.75 million U.S. residents currently have advanced age-related macular degeneration with associated vision loss, with that number expected to grow to almost 3 million by 2020.

 

 

Understanding Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

 

Age-related macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. Because people in this group are an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss from macular degeneration is a growing problem.

 

AMD is degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Because the macula primarily is affected in AMD, central vision loss may occur.

 

About 1.75 million U.S. residents currently have advanced age-related macular degeneration with associated vision loss, with that number expected to grow to almost 3 million by 2020.

 

Wet and Dry Forms of Macular Degeneration

 

Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Neovascular refers to growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be.

 

Macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, causing “blind spots” directly ahead.

 

The dry form is more common than the wet form, with about 85 to 90 percent of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss.

 

 

Dry macular degeneration (non-neovascular). Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease and may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula or a combination of the two processes.

 

Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate in and around the macula. It is believed these spots are deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue.

 

Gradual central vision loss may occur with dry macular degeneration but usually is not nearly as severe as wet AMD symptoms. However, dry AMD through a period of years slowly can progress to late-stage geographic atrophy (GA) — gradual degradation of retinal cells that also can cause severe vision loss.

 

No FDA-approved treatments are available for dry macular degeneration, although a few now are in clinical trials.

 

Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Higher Risk for
Age-Related Macular Degeneration

 

Taking vasodilators and oral beta blockers for high blood pressure has been associated with a higher risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

 

Very high blood pressure.
 High blood pressure must be controlled for good health, but the medications may increase risk of eye disease.

 

Analysis of data from the long-term Beaver Dam Eye Study of nearly 5,000 people found that taking vasodilators such as Apresoline and Loniten seems to bring a 72 percent greater risk of early-stage AMD. In fact, among those taking a vasodilator medication, 19.1 percent developed the eye disease.

 

And taking oral beta blockers such as Tenormin and Lopressor seems to increase the risk of neovascular AMD by 71 percent.

 

The researchers suggested that further clinical studies be conducted to replicate the results and to find out why taking these medications increase AMD risk, before changing anyone’s blood pressure medication.

 

A report of the analysis appeared online recently in the journal Ophthalmology.

 

Two large, five-year clinical trials — the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS; 2001) and a follow-up study called AREDS2 (2013) — have shown nutritional supplements containing antioxidant vitamins and multivitamins that also contain lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of dry AMD progressing to sight-threatening wet AMD.

 

Foods Containing Lutein and Zeaxanthin

 

The best natural food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables and other green or yellow vegetables. Among these, cooked kale and cooked spinach top the list, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

 

Non-vegetarian sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include egg yolks. But if you have high cholesterol, you’re much better off getting most of these yellow nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Foods
Food Serving mg
Kale (cooked) 1 cup 23.7
Spinach (cooked) 1 cup 20.4
Collards (cooked) 1 cup 14.6
Turnip greens (cooked) 1 cup 12.2
Spinach (raw) 1 cup 3.7
Green Peas (canned) 1 cup 2.2
Corn (canned) 1 cup 2.2
Broccoli (cooked) 1 cup 1.7
Romaine lettuce (raw) 1 cup 1.3
Carrots (cooked) 1 cup 1.1
Green beans (cooked) 1 cup 0.8
Eggs 2 (large) 0.3
 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplements

 

Because of the apparent eye and cardiovascular benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, many nutritional companies have added these carotenoids to their multiple vitamin formulas. Others have introduced special eye vitamins that are predominantly lutein and zeaxanthin supplements.

 

There currently is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for lutein or zeaxanthin, but some experts say you should ingest at least 6 milligrams (mg) of lutein per day for beneficial effects.

 

It remains unclear how much lutein and zeaxanthin is needed daily for adequate eye and vision protection. Also, it is unknown at this time whether supplements have the same effect as lutein and zeaxanthin obtained through food sources.

 

There are no known toxic side effects of taking too much lutein or zeaxanthin. In some cases, people who eat large amounts of carrots or yellow and green citrus fruits can develop a harmless yellowing of the skin called carotenemia. Though the appearance of the condition can be somewhat alarming and may be confused with jaundice, the yellow discoloration disappears by cutting back on consumption of these carotenoid-rich foods. (Carotenemia also can be associated with over-consumption of carotenoid-rich nutritional supplements.)

 

While the supplements are helpful for the prevention of wet AMD, neither the AREDS nor the AREDS2 study demonstrated any preventive benefit of nutritional supplements against the development of dry AMD in healthy eyes.

 

Currently, it appears the best way to protect your eyes from developing early (dry) macular degeneration is to eat a healthy diet, exercise and wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and high-energy visible (HEV) radiation.

 

 

Popular Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplements Include:

 

 

EyePromise Zeaxanthin + Lutein Eye Vitamin - Protect & Enhance Macular Health, Address Key Macular Degeneration Risk Factor
 

 

Alcon ICaps Multivitamin Eye Vitamin & Mineral Support, Coated Tablets , 100 tablets
 

 

MacularProtect Complete AREDS2 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement

 

 

MedOp MaxiVision Macula Formula - 60 Capsules

 

 

Twinlab OcuGuard Plus - 120 Capsules
 
PreserVision AREDS 2 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement 120 Count Soft Gels
 

PreserVision AREDS 2 Forumla is the#1 recommended brand by eye doctors for people with moderate-to-advanced Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD),1  and has over 1,425 excellent reviews by consumers.

Manufactured y Bausch + Lomb which is the leader in eye vitamins,2  this advanced PreserVision Formula contains the exact same levels of all six nutrients based on the latest clinical evidence from the AREDS2 study.3 Completed in 2013, the Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) was a five-year study conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health.4

 

1 Wolters-Kluwer Pharma Solutions, B+L Brand Management Report, 5/13/11
2 March 2009 Retinal AMD Tracker, Decision Analysts, Inc.
3 The Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group. Lutein + Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration [published online]. JAMA. 2013;309(19):doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997
4 NEI Press Release: NIH Study Provides Clarity on Supplements for Protection Against Blinding Eye Disease, www.nei.nih.gov/news/pressreleases, accessed May 17, 2013

The source of lutein in many lutein supplements is marigold flowers, while for zeaxanthin it is often red peppers. If you choose a lutein and zeaxanthin supplement, make sure it’s a high quality product from a reputable dietary supplement company, such as the well-known products I’ve recommended here.

Remember that taking dietary supplements does not replace a healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables usually is the best way to get the important eye nutrients you need.

Also, remember that individuals sometimes react differently to certain supplements, which can have unintended effects such as adverse reactions with medications. Consult with your physician or eye doctor before trying any vision supplements.

 

 

Other Suggestions to Protect and Enhance Eye Health:

 

Duco Women’s Shades Classic Oversized Polarized Sunglasses 100% UV Protection

Duco Women's Shades Classic Oversized Polarized Sunglasses 100% UV Protection 1220 Brown

 

 

Oakley Men’s Plaintiff Sunglasses 100% UV Protection Coating

Oakley Men's Plaintiff Sunglasses (Polished Gold Frame/Dark Grey Lens)

 

 

 

To avoid complications from macular degeneration, have your eyes examined regularly and report any vision changes. If you have experience with macular degeneration, please share your thoughts below.

 

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Help For Low Vision

Help For Low Vision

 

 

 

Many people as they age have low vision. A number of factors can cause low vision including injury, disease and birth defects.

 

Unfortunately many aging people do not pick up on the early warning signs of eye disease until significant damage has been done.

People with low vision can have trouble doing simple things we take for granted. These problems occur even if a person is wearing regular glasses.

Low vision cannot be improved through surgery, the use of conventional glasses or contact lenses.

 

Signs of low vision include:

 

  •  Problems recognizing familiar faces
  •  Difficulty doing things up close like sewing, reading, writing
  •  Problems using household appliances
  •  Difficulty distinguishing colors
  •  Complaining that the lights are too dim
  •  Difficulty seeing hazards such as steps, curbs and uneven surfaces

 

 

Who can help with low vision?

 

A low vision assessment is different to other eye examinations and needs to be done by a low vision specialist. A low vision specialist is trained in low vision and can prescribe aids and show a person how to use them.

 

Low vision rehabilitation does not replace the use of medications, surgery or other ongoing treatments but looks at ways to optimize remaining vision.

 

It may include orientation and mobility training, use of adaptive technology like electronic magnifiers and prescription spectacles, or involve adapting the home environment.

 

 

Contact your optometrist for information or direction to your nearest low vision service.

Low Vision Aids

 

Low vision aids are simple tools and devices designed to help people with daily living tasks.

These aids do not require a prescription and can help make reading, writing and shopping easier. Handy home care aids for low vision include:

 

Curve Talking Clock

 

Economical Square Talking Watch
           Talking Clock Keychain
Talking Clock Keychain Silver

Carson® SureGrip 2x Acrylic Soft Grip Magnifier with 10x Spot Lens (SG-14)

 

MP3 Player with Classic Books and Music

 

MP3 Player with Classic Books and Music

 

 

 

Large print TV remotes and appliances

 

Big Button TV Universal Remote
 

Ask your optometrist or low vision service about low vision aids.

 

 

Caring for a person with low vision

 

If you are caring for an aging person with low vision you may have to organize some kind of home care. A person with low vision can have difficulty:

  •  Shopping, cooking and preparing meals
  •  Leaving the house without a license
  •  Attending social gatherings or hobbies
  •  Maintaining the family home
  •  Paying bills

 

Many people as they age find coping with daily life difficult. Low vision can create many daily obstacles. People who live alone or have other medical problems may require more assistance.

 

Ask a person how you can help. Look into any home care services you can organize or tasks you can help them with. Even collecting and reading the mail or shopping once a week can be useful.

 

If you are caring for an aging person with low vision adapt the home environment and encourage the use of low vision aids.

 

There are many practical things you can do to help a person remain independent in the home.

 

Adjust the Lighting

  • Make sure the lighting is even in every room. Use fluorescent bulbs that diffuse light. Ensure kitchen and bathroom areas are well lit.
  • Reduce and control glare. Ensure lighting comes from behind. Use curtains and blinds to reduce glare from windows. Wear a hat and sunglasses outside.
  • Place reading lamps beside beds as opposed to above the head. Wide lamps with long adjustable arms are better for reading, needlework and near tasks. Position the lamp with the shade below eye level with the light shining onto an object at a 45 degree angle to reduce glare reflecting into the eyes.

 

Adjust the home

  • Remove hazards like low tables and power cords.
  • Use sofas and chairs with steady armrests for support and mobility.
  • Highlight light switches, phones, keyholes and appliances with fluorescent tape or markers.
  • Use contrast to make items stand out e.g. use dark colored towels in a white bathroom, dark chopping boards on a light kitchen bench top.
  • Place a chair near the front door; it can take longer for a person with low vision to adjust their eyes to the dim light of indoors.

 

Place a chair near the front door

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  •  Highlight step edges with contrasting tape or paint.
  •  Place certain items like clothes, food and appliances in specific spots in the house. Arrange things together, walking and feeling your way through the process.

 

 

Identify and organize objects

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  • Label food containers in large lettering with a highlighter.
  •  Sort items in cupboards using the clock method of placing tea at 2 o’clock.
  • Reduce items in cupboards and place in specified areas.
  • Keep items such as keys and money in one designated spot.

 

Keep keys, money and other small items in one spot with the InterDesign Twillo Dry Erase Board with Mail and Key Organizer for Kitchen, Hallway, Entryway – Wall Mount, Bronze

 

 

 

 

Organizes kitchens, hallways, foyers, or next to doors

Mounts to a wall; hardware and dry erase marker Included

Made of steel with dry erase board and Bronze Woven plastic accents

11.5x 10.5x 2.5

 

 

 

 

  • Place tactile markers such as Velcro on locks to help fit keys.
  •  Sort out notes into different sections in a wallet (use a coin sorter to identify between coins).
  •  Label medication bottles with a black marker.
  •  Keep a magnifying glass handy.

 

 

Make the most of vision aids

 

  •  A wide shade task light with an adjustable arm is great for concentrating on near tasks such as reading and needlework.

 

 

Alvin Home Indoor Office Art Craft Draft Fluorescent Task Light Black

 

  •  Portable handheld magnifiers help with identifying fine detail can be taken to the shops for reading food labels and bills.

 

 

Liquid Level Indicator Music Alert

 

 

  • Coin holders help identify and organize different coins. They fit easily into a handbag and help a person access small change.

Custom Accessories 91116 Coin Holder

 

There are many products available which can make daily life easier for those with low vision. Consult with a low vision specialist for advice.

I’d love to hear your hints and tips for making life with low vision easier; please comment below.

 

You may also be interested in:

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Have a Smooth Recovery from Cataract Surgery

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The Right Lighting for Fall Prevention

Safe Shoes for the Elderly

Modifying Your Bathroom for Safety 

Pick the Right Shower Chair or Bath Bench

Caregivers Must Plan for Emergencies – Here’s How

Best Hearing Amplifiers Reviewed

About Me

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