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Senior Focus - The Eyes Have It

June 17, 2014

 

Like other parts of the human body, your eyes change as you age.  Many times, vision changes are so subtle, that you may not even be aware that they’ve occurred until an underlying condition is quite advanced.  Proactively safeguarding your vision can go a long way to enhancing quality of life in your golden years.

Cataracts (the clouding of the lens of the eye) is a leading cause of visual impairment in seniors.  In fact, it will affect more than half of all Americans by the time they reach 80 years of age.  Clearer vision can be restored through surgery, but the longer advanced forms are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully repair the damage.

The American Optometric Association recommends that individuals over the age of 60 have annual eye examinations to watch for the development of cataracts.  Other common eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma can also be monitored.  Individuals who notice changes in their vision (such as dull, blurry vision, color intensity loss, and halos around lights) should schedule a timely visit with their doctor of optometry.  It’s important to note that people with diabetes, a family history of cataracts, or who smoke tobacco are at an increased risk and should be extra vigilant about eye care.  

For people for whom the cost of regular eye examinations is a concern, EyeCare America (a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology) offers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors age 65 and older. 

Memorial Hospital provides ophthalmologic care through its outpatient clinic.  Dr. Julie Janky, a board certified ophthalmologist (and member of EyeCare America), is on-site at Memorial Hospital the second Wednesday of each month.  In addition to diagnosing vision conditions (including cataracts), Dr. Janky can also treat the condition locally (including surgery, when required).   To schedule an appointment with Dr. Janky, call her office at 308.381.4733 and request the Memorial Hospital (Aurora) outpatient clinic.