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Visual Problems Affecting Aging Adults Globally

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 39 million people are blind while 253 million people have vision impairment globally.

Photo courtesy of PEXELS
Eyes are the window to your soul - William Shakespeare 
I started wearing eyeglasses at the age of 16 and a year later in my first year in college, I transferred to wearing of contact lenses. I would use clear contact lenses or colored ones depending on my mood but as I grow older, I found difficulty in using single vision lenses while working. If I had to read my notes, I would take off my glasses then put it back again to view the computer and it was pretty annoying. A visit to  my doctor resulted to switching to my use of progressive lenses.

At age 51, my doctor diagnosed me with presbyopia. Presbyopia as defined by wikipedia is: a natural part of aging process. It is due to the hardening of the lens of the eye causing the eye to focus light behind rather than on the retina when looking at close objects.

Presbyopia is the most common problem adults developed between ages 41 to 60. They have difficulty seeing clearly at close distances especially when reading and working on the computer.

The Switch to Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses allow you to read a book, view your computer or view from a farther distance without a need to change glasses. These are no line multi focal eyeglass lenses so you could see clearly at all distances. Progressive lenses or no line bifocal lenses were developed in the 1950s to provide a smooth additional reading power from the top to the bottom portion of a special lens.

Progressive lenses are quite expensive and I ask from my doctor about the brand Essilor. The price was quite steep for me so I requested if I could use my older frame since it is of good condition. I already had it with me so she took a look at it and said I could still use it. The progressive lenses from Essilor had cost me Php 5,700.00 or almost USD 112.00.

My old Armani frame which I used for my progressive lens from Essilor
I had discovered too, that once you had presbyopia, you will need to change your eyeglasses more frequently. So what I did was to scout for a cheaper source of frames & progressive lenses. I found it in Reshma Optical at Paterno, Quiapo. I shelled out Php 3,500 or USD 69.00 only for a complete set of frame & progressive lenses!

My Php 3,500.00 complete frame & progressive lens from Reshma
Other Eye Problems I Experienced

During the past years, I would experience drying of my eyes. It is quite irritating, it feels like, my eyes came in contact with harsh solution and I  felt a burning sensation or  a sandy feeling in my eyes. My doctor prescribed me with a special eye drops to keep my eyes lubricated. Drying of eyes is caused by increased tear evaporation due to wind, smoke or dry air. At risk are people over 50 especially women. Lack of tears is more common in women because we experience hormonal change due to menopause. Blinking less often is also a reason for dry eyes and this tends to occur while reading or working at a computer or even while driving.

Here's what you can do to decrease incidences of dry eyes:
  • Close your eyes for a few minutes.
  • Blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
  • Position your computer screen below eye level. It will help in the slow evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
  • Take periodic eye breaks.
Another eye problem, I had developed is finding it hard to see in the dark or in dim lights. Imagine, I'm in the movie house and I practically have to grab hold of my companion's hand to walk to my seat or switch on the flashlight in my mobile phone to guide me in my pathway! Before, that was not the case, sure it's dark but not too dark, I can hardly find my way. Did you also wonder why it seems you need more light as you get older? In dim light or darkness, the eyes adapt by widening the pupils to let in much light. As you get older the muscles that control the size of the pupils weaken. As a result the pupils become smaller and it affects the eye's ability to adjust when the intensity of the light changes.

Get your eyes checked if you experienced difficulty seeing at night or in dim places. You will be able to receive adequate treatment if you have a threatening visual disease or get prescription for the correct lenses for your eyes. These will help you to see comfortably in dim light and be safe at night.

Have you heard about retinal disorder or retinal detachment? When I had difficulty in seeing from near or far distances, my doctor examined me for retinal detachment. I have two red flags, one is I'm in my 50s and second I'm extremely myopic. The doctor examined me with the use of an opthalmoscope, an instrument to examine the back of the eye including the retina to see any holes or tears. The reason for the examination was because I was complaining of dimming or blurring of vision. Fortunately, my retinas are healthy, the reason for my dimming or blurring vision is excessive use of the computer and later it was found out I have hypertension.

I have here a list of age related visual problems:
  • Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) - problem when part of the retina, the macula is damaged.
  • Cataract - loss of transparency in the lens of the eyes as a result of tissue breakdown or clumping.
  • Diabetes Retinopathy - swelling in the area of the retina. It is a complication brought by people with diabetes.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome - a condition when the tears in the eyes dry too quickly.
  • Glaucoma - damage to the optic nerve and may lead to irreversible blindness.
  • Retinal detachment - eye disorder wherein the retina separates from the layer underneath.
But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. - Matthew 6:22
Here's a guideline to take care of your eyes:
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  • Control diabetes
  • Wear sunglasses when you are outside in bright sunshine
  • Eat green, leafy vegetable
  • Wear protective eye wear or gear when cleaning or engaging in sports
39 million people are blind while 253 million people have vision impairment globally. How many  millions  more in the coming  years? Take care of your eyes because once, your eyesight is gone you will no longer see the beauty of God's creation.

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Middle life is Beautiful.

Till next time. God bless.


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