January Is National Eye Care Month
For some reason, when I think about National Eye Care Month, my mind takes me back to the game of Blind Man’s Bluff…a game in which the object was to avoid being tagged by one unlucky child picked to be “It.” While we had fun avoiding being “It” (or blindfolded), the ability to enjoy good vision when we’re older is no game.
It goes without saying that games, and life in general, are easier to navigate when you can see where you are going. Those impacted with vision impairment face many challenges that many of us take for granted. The object now is to maintain healthy vision for as long as possible.
Did you realize that eye disease often goes undetected until it’s too late? That’s right, many eye conditions show no signs or symptoms until real damage has already occurred. That’s why early detection is so important. It takes national visibility (pun intended) during National Eye Care Month to remind us of how important it is to take good care of our sight.
I would like to encourage you to focus on the health of your vision this January. Healthy sight plays a crucial role in maintaining an independent life. While some people are genetically predisposed to certain diseases of the eye, there are ways in which you can lower your risk of developing them.
The best thing you can do to maintain your eye health is have your vision tested once per year. During your visit, you will most likely have your eyes dilated, so you’ll want to arrange transportation for the ride home. Having your eyes dilated is the best way for your eye doctor to screen for dangerous degenerative diseases that may otherwise go undetected.
Age, hypertension, diabetes and lifestyle are all contributing factors to vision problems that may include:
Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye, and can be caused by factors such as age or hypertension. Diabetics are susceptible to cataracts, as are cigarette smokers. Cataract surgery is common today. 90 percent of these surgeries afford the patient a significantly positive outcome.
Diabetic retinopathy is reported to affect up to 80 percent of patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. Though this is a large statistic, many physicians feel that new cases of this potentially blinding disease could be reduced with the vigilant treatment and regular monitoring of the eye.
Glaucoma is also called the “silent thief of sight” because of its often unnoticed gradual progression. Glaucoma results from increased pressure that damages the optic nerve. The second-leading cause of blindness after cataracts, more than 40 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma. Often loss of sight is noticed after the disease has progressed too far. That’s why early prevention measures through regular exams are so important.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness or visual impairment in adults over 50. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the center field of vision from the retina. Though most AMD patients do not suffer blindness from the disease, it can affect the quality of life of those who find it difficult to read, drive or differentiate between color and contrast.
The ideal goal is to maintain the health of your eyes for as long as possible. Early detection for all types of eye disease is key. While reversing damage may not be possible, it is likely that by being proactive you can slow or stop progression from getting any worse.
Shop around! If you need glasses or replacement lenses, make sure to shop around. Prices vary dramatically and time spent asking educated questions can save you a lot of money. Don’t hesitate to compare large retailers like Walmart and Costco and take advantage of their buying discounts.
Save 75% or more! Did you know you can save as much as 75 percent on eye care products by shopping online? Many online companies have lower overhead than retailers and are able to pass volume pricing onto you. Two such online shopping options are http://www.warbyparker.com/ and http://www.zennioptical.com
Some vision care expenses are also covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage and other Medicare supplement plans. We believe that your vision plays a key role in maintaining a lifestyle of independence and vitality! Call your MediGap Advisors agent today at (866) 323-1441 to make sure that you have the coverage you need to ensure your vision will last for years to come! Feel free to also visit us online: http://www.MediGapAdvisors.com/
Maintain your independence during National Eye Care Month! There’s so much more to see!
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.