5 Simple Tips that could Keep You from Going Blind

What is to be blind?

Society, at large, considers it as living in darkness.

It is to not see the luxuriant colors of a sunrise or a sunset, of the shimmering full moon, of the countless twinkling little stars on a cloudless night.

It is never being able to appreciate the blueness of the ocean, the multi-colored butterflies in your garden, or the richness of nature around you.

It is to grope your way around your own home, never seeing the beauty of your loved ones, and many more.

That is blindness for most of us – total darkness.

To be legally blind, however, is something else.

A person is legally blind if his visual acuity is 20/200, or worse, in his better eye while wearing corrective lenses.

Note: 20/200 visual acuity means that a person is expected to see at 20 ft. what a person with normal vision sees at 200.

A legally blind person is limited (if not prohibited) by law to do certain activities, like driving, for safety reasons.

The National Federation of the Blind has a broader and less judgmental view of blindness.

It encourages people to consider themselves blind if their eyesight is bad enough – even with corrective lenses – that they must use alternative methods to engage in any activity that a person with normal vision can do with their eyes.

There are no accurate data on how many Americans are legally blind. What is certain is that science says that legal blindness does not often result to total blindness.

The questions that probably nag you now are: Am I legally blind? Will I ultimately become totally blind, and, why the heck does eyesight deteriorate with age?


Blame it on Presbyopia:

Presbyopia is the medical term for farsightedness and is caused by the hardening of the elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically at middle age.

It gets worse as you get older resulting to the need of glasses to compensate for your vision loss.

This age-related deterioration of your vision, however, does not necessarily result to eye problems. It does not make you legally blind unless you get any of these eyes diseases common among seniors.
1. Macular degeneration occurs when the retina (the light-sensing nerve tissue at the
back of the eye) deteriorates. If not treated timely, macular degeneration can cause severe vision loss.

A study done on the prevalence of age related macular degeneration (AMD), shows that 17.6% of the respondents (60-89 yrs old), is afflicted with the disease.

The occurrence is more pronounced among smokers.

Early onset of AMD is not easy to detect, therefore it is necessary to have regular eye checks to be certain.


2. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerves get damaged, leading to a progressive, and
irreversible loss of vision. It is the second leading cause of blindness, worldwide.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), there is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be slowed down with treatment, or surgery. Sadly, about 10% of people with the disease will get blind.


3. Cataract is a medical condition where the lens of the eye becomes progressively
opaque resulting to blurred vision.

It is either caused by genetics, aging, or injuries that change the tissue that makes up your lens.

There are no specific figures about its prevalence among the elderly but it is best to have a regular eye check to nip it in the bud. It is treatable at its early stage.


4. Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at
the back of the eye (retina) is damaged by diabetes.

It is the most common cause of blindness among diabetics and the most common cause of blindness among-age adults.

The problem with these eye illnesses is that they are difficult to detect in their earlier stages and the only way to pre-empt them is to do these five simple eye-care tips.


5 Simple Eye Care Tips:

1. Visit your doctor regularly:
The American Optometric Association warns that certain eye diseases can strike with little or no symptoms, especially among seniors aged 60, above. And even if we detect some vision deterioration, we simply take it as age related.

Don’t take chances, visit your doctor immediately, In fact, most experts suggest an eye exam once or every three years – depending on age and other risk factors.


2. Take regular breaks from the computer:
I confess to be guilty of this. There are nights when my eyes seem to fall off from their sockets for staying too long in front my monitor.

Some studies show that 50 to 90% of people using computers have eye problems like blurred vision, twitching eyes, and redness or dry eyes.

So even if the latest computer monitors that are not as harmful as the old CRT screens, you must still take 10 to 15 minutes break every hour.


3. Eat eye-healthy foods:
Eat lots o beta carotene foods like carrots, tomatoes, and those with high vitamin C, E, and omega-3 fatty acids like spinach, eggs, berries, salmon, soy, and avocados.

There’s no point in trying to be physically healthy if you bump into a wall for poor vision.


4. Exercise your body, as well as your eyes:
The importance of exercise could never be over-emphasized. Its health benefits are well-documented the Internet is practically full of it.

For example, aerobics lowers blood pressure around the eyes. And a simple side-to-side, up-and-down rolling of the eyes is often enough to give your eye muscles the flex they need.


5. Protect your eyes from the sun when outdoors:
Both the lens and the cornea are transparent and serve as UV filters. But they can both be damaged through years and years of use – typically among elderly people.

The lens, specifically, can turn yellowish through constant and prolonged UV light absorption.

To minimize possible damage, always use UV-light protected sun glasses when staying outdoors. Not only that, have a wide-brimmed hat on in case a shade is not available, like the beach, for example.

Harsh sunlight is as bad to your eyes as a computer monitor.

Do you think these tips are superfluous? How about going blind?

Our eyes are one of the most precious gifts given us at birth. While some were born without them, or were taken away at some point in their lives, you should not take yours for granted.

Health Secrets


10 Little Things that Make an Elderly’s Day

One time time daughter-in-law asked me how much I need per month to live comfortably.

Her eyes widened in amazement when I told her a figure. Then she asked, “Are you sure? Only that much?”

I immediately felt sorry for giving such a low amount but I can’t make it any higher, either, without lying.

At any rate, when people grow a little older, their needs become a little lower.

Or they take on another form.

Elderly people need different, and probably expensive, kinds of foods to maintain a proper diet, and they may spend more on medications to take care of age-related illnesses.

But they will be spending less on clothes, they will party less, drive less, give up on unnecessary things they lavish themselves in their younger days.

They become more discriminating on what to spend on, have fewer, but better, friends to hang out with, and would rather stay home than hang out needlesly.

When people age, their focus shifts from material things to things that satisfy their inner desires of companionship, of self-worth, approval and consideration.

Unfortunately, mainstream society often gives elderly people the lowdown. They are being short-changed, abused, neglected, or just taken for granted. A few are abandoned in nursing homes to fade into oblivion, like a pair of badly worn-out shoes shoved into the closet for having lost its usefulness.

Like a separated old woman whose story was told to me by a friend…

A separated woman, already in her 60s, labored all her life to send her three children to school, through college. Then they graduated, and found work.

At first, they lived with their Mom, supporting her. Then they left home, but still sent her money for her needs. As time went by, the support dwindled until it came to a full stop, forcing the old woman to accept laundry to survive.

Stories like this may be rare but they happen. My kids, however, are felicitous with my needs, thanks goodness.

Oh yes, society and government have provided courtesy lanes, parking slots, discounts for food, groceries, and medicines to make the life of an elderly easier. Cash gifts are given during the year, and some movie houses offer free movies to seniors on certain days of the week.

These are good and we welcome them. After all we worked for them, didn’t we? But I call them fringe benefits for being old. They are not what old people need.

Read more

How I Kept from Imploding

Health Secrets

salty breeze

Salty breeze heals

Last Sunday I was on the brink of imploding.

It can happen to you so stay with me as I unravel how and why I got into such near-death situation and how I got out of it.

There was a time when Sundays were special days. I, my wife and two children always had a special lunch together. In the afternoon we went out to do the groceries, or watch a movie. If my budget allowed, we went to the beach and had lunch there.

I am sure you know how it is with families who are close to each other, right?

Things changed when my wife died and my children were occupied with their studies. Having lunch with them was rare, going out for groceries was impossible, so was going to the movies or the beach for lunch.

As if things were not bad enough, they got married one after the after and moved out of our home. That left me a lonesome and alone widower.

It also made my Sundays blue, not red. I remember, a Sunday afternoon two years ago, I was alone at home watching TV but miserable. As if on cue, my daughter called asking how I was getting along.

Her voice startled me, yet made me so happy I cried. Between sobs, I told her I was feeling very lonely. Her call helped and, besides, she took me to dinner.

But I that cannot happen every Sunday, can it? And for some reason, some Sundays are bluer than most – like last Sunday.

Last Sunday started like any other Sunday. I had my regular breakfast, then started doing my regular Sunday chores. It was then I suddenly felt that something was amiss.

I don’t know what but I felt an emptiness in me. My brain seized and my chest started pounding like an oncoming locomotive. I tried lying down hoping a little rest can ease my anxiety. It didn’t.

I wanted to talk to someone. But who? I was alone at home and I didn’t want to drop in on any of my children. Besides, it was early in the morning and, I was sure, both were still asleep

“Oh, oh, this is bad. I got to do something quickly,” I told myself. But what?


What is imploding?

Imploding is the process of collapsing or causing to collapse violently inward – like that of a star that has reached the end of its useful life. When it collapses, it causes a supernova, which is thought to cause the creation of black holes.

You, me, or anybody else can implode when day-to-day pressures become so great squeezing us in and there are no means of escape.

No, you don’t become a black hole if it happens to you but the consequences are no less serious. It starts as harmless feelings of anxiety, to stress, depression, dementia or Alzheimer’s. From there, death is almost certain, if suicide doesn’t get you first.

The irony is that you can avoid from imploding if you recognize its symptoms. Unfortunately not many do. They just take them as part of aging. That’s why stress is one of the major health risks among seniors.

I am no great fan of self-diagnosis, but if you feel something similar to what I felt the other Sunday, do something before it’s too late. This is what I did.


How I kept from imploding:

sea therapy

Getting a sea therapy

After what seemed an eternity of weighing my options, I decided to do the thing I love doing – stress or no stress.

I drove to a seaside resort where I had my first dive. The 30-min drive was worth it.

The sea always strikes an emotional chord in me. My earliest memories were of chasing, with my elder sister, fiddler crabs directly beneath the window of our rented home which was partly on dry land and partly on the sea.

The cool, clean salty breeze cured me my juvenile asthma.

It is no accident then, that when I feel the world closing in on me, I head out to the beach before I implode.

The seaside resort I went to was my favorite. It is a scuba-diving resort, crawling with diving enthusiasts, both foreign and local, beginners and pros. And I know many diving instructors who can belt out stories as varied and enjoyable as a fishing buff.

It has a very nice restaurant with foreign and local menus and the staff knows me, and I, them. It makes me feel so much at home

But the reason why I love going there is that it is the only remaining resort nearby where snorkeling is at its best.

Unknown to most, except the enthusiasts, what makes a great diving resort is not the amenities on the surface but the presence and variety of life beneath. And in this aspect, the owners of the place did a great job.

Observing, sometimes chasing, various tropical fishes of all colors and sizes nibbling at the fauna on the sea floor is very therapeutic. They make me forget my woes and cares; makes me lose track of time and self. And it is a darn good exercise.

I stopped when my legs could no longer move my flippers. After almost an hour of snorkeling, I was tired but free of the forces that, a few minutes ago, almost crushed me in.


Going home stress-free:

After more than two hours, and a hearty lunch, I started heading home. I was tired but was free of the little devils that were pulling me down.

I was free of the stress that was choking me. In its place were vivid images of the wonderful life outside and around me.

Oh, I had several pictures, too, that would be mementos of how I changed what could be an awful Sunday into something that kept me away from a self-destructive path.

We are all unique and you may have your own way of dealing with stress that could make you implode. Whatever it is, it is only as good as how fast you can react when you sense these stressors creeping up on you.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.