Aging Options

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Seeing clearly may be a minor surgery away

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In grade school, our teachers teach that our five senses are smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch.  Although human don’t have particular good senses taken individually when compared to other mammals, on the whole they allow us to actively engage in our world.  Because of them, we can participate fully in the things around us.  They protect us from danger but they also provide us information on other important stimuli such as temperature, pain, and balance.  As we age, the sensors that allow us to see, hear, smell, feel or taste, can fade.  Eyes can become blurry, taste buds and smell detectors can atrophy etc.  We can partially correct for some of these by wearing corrective lenses or hearing aids.  Despite those options, many people fail to take vital steps to help them preserve their independence.  One step, many people fail to take advantage of is a painless outpatient procedure that can improve eyesight.  That step is to consider whether or not cataract surgery should be in your future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 20 million Americans 40 and over are affected by cataracts.  Cataracts can result in blurry vision, glare, yellow or brown tinted vision, halos around lights and difficulty focusing even with corrective lenses.  Depending upon their severity, cataracts can pose a safety hazard and limit your mobility.

How do you tell if you have cataracts?  If you’re changing your corrective lenses frequently or have difficulty identifying colors or blink frequently to refocus your eyes, you should visit an ophthalmologist.  People 60 years and over should have a regular vision check at least every two years.

If you have a loved one with both dementia and cataracts, cataracts can lead to depression and increase the likelihood that they’ll need assistance with normal daily activities.  Some studies seem to indicate that improved eyesight improves cognition and increases sensory stimulation.  Here’s the link to a story with additional information.

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