Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Please Get Your Eyes Checked

This is your reminder to get your eyes checked to maintain your vision health!  There are many eye diseases that are "silent" with no symptoms.  Unfortunately, when the damage is done, it is irreversible. When your vision is gone, it is gone.  No one wants that to happen.  When vision is lost, our lives would be forever changed.

Today was my 6 month check up where I have my eye pressures tested.  I was diagnosed with glaucoma 29 years ago, when I was 35.  Medication has been necessary since that time to keep the pressures down in my eyes so that no further damage would occur to my optic nerves.  Once a year I undergo a visual field test and have computer images done of my optic nerves to make sure no further damage has been done from the increased ocular pressure in my eyes.  Twice a year, I get my pressures tested to make sure they are within "normal" range.

Next week, I will be evaluated for laser surgery.  Using lasers, they try to break up tissue behind your corneas to allow the eyes to drain more naturally and hopefully reduce some of the medication that I use.  I have been on 4 medications, twice a day, in each eye for years.  This is considered the optimum treatment and I cannot add any further medications.  My pressures are not staying down where they would like them to be.  I DO NOT EVER FORGET MY MEDICATION which is vitally important to maintaining eye pressures that do not rise and further damage my optic nerves.  So, I am extremely happy to know there is new option available to treat glaucoma.  If I could reduce my medications, that would make me even happier.

We think of getting our eyes checked when we are having trouble seeing clearly.  There are many other reasons to get your eyes examined.  You may have unknown problems that are showing no symptoms, but will be too late to reverse if they go undiagnosed.  Glaucoma tends to run in families.  Guess what?  NO one in my family has ever been diagnosed with glaucoma.  It was found during a routine eye examination.  I have worn glasses since I was 21 and I have been forever grateful to the doctor who found this eye disease.  If it had not been discovered when it was, I could have lost my vision at a very early age.  My optic nerves had already suffered significant damage.  Due to my diligence in using medication, my optic nerves have stayed stable.  Now, hopefully, this new treatment will make things somewhat better by reducing the medications I have to use.

As you age, there are many visual problems and diseases that can develop such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  The list of diseases fills an entire wall poster in the examination room.  There are 13 million people suffering from macular degeneration and 1/2 of those over 80 have cataracts.  Yes, I have early cataracts too.

Good visual health starts with what is on your plate - what you eat.  Maintaining good nutrition helps maintain your vision.  We all know about carrots being good for your eyes, but here is a list of other foods that help maintain your vision health.

1.  Carrots
2.  Bell peppers
3.  Broccoli
4.  Brussel sprouts
5.  Ostrich
6.  Turkey
7.  Sweet potatoes
8.  Spinach
9.  Wild salmon
10.  Sardines

These foods contain antioxidants, beta carotene, Vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxathin, plus zinc and omega 3 fats which all help maintain good visual health.  Lucky for me, I like them all!  How about you?

It is also important to protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sun glasses or UV coating on your prescription lenses.  The sun can cause a lot of damage to your eyes.

If you haven't seen your eye doctor in a while, make an appointment to start the new year with a good eye examination.  Remember, once your vision is damaged, there is no replacement or way to repair it.  We all want to continue being able to see the beautiful world around us and all those we love as long as we possibly can.

Do it.  Make the appointment.  Don't forget.  It's important.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

The eye is the mirror of the soul.
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