Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Important Things to Know When In Need of Vision Correction

Vision correction is any of several techniques required to improve eye problems caused by refractive errors. The eye works by focusing light through the pupil onto the retina – the light-sensitive layer of nerve tissue at the back of the eyes. The retina cells transform light rays into electrical impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain. 


Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from hitting the retina correctly. The eyes cannot focus on objects properly, leading to blurred or impaired vision. The most common refractive errors are:


●    Far-sightedness (hyperopia) – inability to see near objects clearly
●    Near-sightedness (myopia) – inability to see close objects clearly
●    Astigmatism – irregularly curved cornea leading to distorted vision
●    Presbyopia – age-related difficulty in seeing things at arm’s length 


If you have refractive errors and think you need vision correction, here are some essential things you may need to know:


Refractive Errors Are Pretty Common


Over 150 million people in the United States live with refractive errors, and many are not aware they could have better vision. Some people never know they have refractive errors until a comprehensive eye exam. The doctor will ask you to read letters far away and near during an eye exam. They may also check for other problems by dilating your pupils with eye drops. The symptoms of refractive errors are:


●    Blurred vision
●    Double or hazy vision
●    Sensitivity to light
●    Headaches
●    Strained eyes
●    Difficulty concentrating when reading or looking at a screen


People with a family history of refractive errors are at higher risk of developing a refractive error. You cannot prevent refractive errors, but you can catch and correct them quickly by going for comprehensive eye checks. 


Surgery, Contact Lenses and Eyeglasses Are the Main Ways to Correct Refractive Errors


The vision correction option you opt for will depend on your daily needs, health, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Surgical intervention is ideal for individuals who do not like the idea of wearing glasses or contact lenses and are in good overall health. Vision correction surgeries modify how the eye processes light, providing clearer vision. Some surgery may require replacing your natural lens with an artificial one to correct vision. LASIK is the most common type of vision surgery available. Others include EpiLasik and Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK).


Contact Lenses


Contact lenses are thin plastic materials placed directly on the eyes to correct refractive errors. Depending on your needs, they may be soft, hard, hybrid, or tori contact lenses. A doctor will prescribe the most suitable contact lens after an eye exam. It is possible to have different contact lens prescriptions for each eye. For sensitive eyes, a gas permeable (GP) or hydrogel lens may be suitable. GP lenses are smaller and do not absorb moisture from your eyes. On the flip side, a soft contact lens made from hydrogel material has unique biocompatibility with the eye making them the ideal fit for sensitive or dry eyes. 


Contact lenses rest directly on the eyes, and using them comes with some responsibility. Unsafe use of contact lenses can cause eye infections and vision problems.


Here are some recommended guidelines for the safe use of contact lenses (Source: WebEyeCare):
●    Wash and dry your hands before inserting or removing your contacts
●    Use fresh, unexpired contact lens solution
●    Do not use water, saliva, or any other liquid than the recommended solution for cleaning or storing your lenses
●    Replace your lens case every three months
●    Do not sleep with your contact lenses
●    Do not swim or take a shower with your contact lenses on


Eyeglasses


Eyeglasses are a quick, easy vision correction option. You can put your glasses on or take them off pretty much anytime you want. They rest on the bridge of your nose without making contact with your eyes, and you do not need much care or have to worry about cleaning solutions. They also come in various styles, frames, sizes, and colors.


However, glasses may distort vision, especially for individuals with a strong prescription. Some people may not like the feel or look glasses on their nose or the pressure on their ears. Glasses may also not be great for sports or outdoor activities as the lenses can fog up. 


Your Eye Health and Overall Health Are Interlinked 


The need for regular eye checks goes beyond seeing clearly. Eyes exams can tell doctors about the general state of your health. Your eyes are connected to blood vessels, nerves, and veins that hold vital health information. An eye check can detect the development or progression of diseases like: 


Diabetes 


Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, can cause blindness and other complications. It damages small blood vessels of light-sensitive tissues in the retina. An early eye exam can detect this condition and reduce the risk of vision loss. 


Hypertension 


The blood vessels in the eye can also reveal early signs of high blood pressure. Eye doctors often detect hypertension before other health specialists. The information from an eye exam can also provide some insight into an appropriate treatment approach. 


Cancer 


Doctors can detect cancerous growths during a comprehensive eye check. Brain tumors may also be responsible for loss of peripheral vision or abnormal eye movements.


There Are Different Kinds of Eye Doctors


If you need vision correction, you may need more than one type of expert, and your eye health may depend on knowing who to meet. An optometrist’s duty is to meet your primary vision care needs, including sight testing, diagnosis, management, and treatment of vision problems. Optometrists are not medical doctors. They perform minor surgeries but may be unable to handle complicated cases. 


Ophthalmologists are eye doctors who specialize in surgical procedures. They diagnose and manage eye diseases, subspecialties and perform complicated surgeries. 


Opticians are technicians who design and fit glass lenses, frames, and other corrective devices. They are not licensed to make diagnoses or write prescriptions. 


Final Thoughts 


Poor vision can impede your ability to navigate the world and accomplish your daily objectives. Fortunately, there are corrective options to help you see clearly, and it will help if you equip yourself with basic information on vision correction options and what they mean for you.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, January 17, 2022

It’s Essential that Older Adults Practice Self-Care During the Pandemic

Credit: Han Chenxu via Unsplash

Let’s set the record straight about what self-care is not before we explore what it is, and how older adults can benefit from practicing it.

Self-care is not:

•    Selfish
•    Self-indulgent
•    Self-absorbed
•    Solipsistic
•    A reward for good behavior 

On the contrary, self-care is the conscious practice of taking care of yourself holistically—that is to say, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—so that you can enjoy better overall health and a higher overall standard of living.

More, when you practice self-care, you enable yourself to care for others. By taking better care of yourself, in other words, you empower yourself to take better care of those around you. Love thyself to love thy neighbor.

Why is Self-Care Trendy? 

You may have noticed that the term self-care has been popping up everywhere these days.

The term began to gain popularity among medical communities in the 1960s. Health practitioners used it when discussing how patients who lacked autonomy could exercise healthy habits under their guidance. 

But the term self-care did not become mainstream until around 2016. Since then, as the data shows, Google searches for the term have steadily climbed worldwide, with a record number of searches coinciding with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Rise of Self-Care 


The connection between COVID-19 and the surge of Google searches for self-care is rather obvious. Impelled to quarantine and keep themselves healthy, more and more people across the globe in the early days of the pandemic began wondering how to take better care of themselves and their overall health and stave off pandemic-related anxiety and depression.

The rates of anxiety and depression rose by a staggering 25% in 2020, and during that year one in four older adults reported anxiety and depression. 

Older adults who live alone experience higher rates of anxiety and depression than those who live with family members, caregivers, or in the sort of social environment that a well established retirement community provides. 

How Older Adults Can Practice Self-Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is especially important nowadays, when people of all ages are encouraged to keep their bubbles small, that older adults—many of whom felt isolated even before the pandemic—practice self-care. Self-care can help prevent or lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety, which isolation only exacerbates. 

There are different ways that older adults can practice self-care without puncturing their social bubbles.

 They can:

•    Pursue creative activities, such as painting, writing, or music
•    Relax
•    Meditate
•    Exercise

All these self-care practices keep the mind and body active and therefore combat symptoms of isolation-induced anxiety and depression. 

Practicing Self-Care Takes Practice 

It’s unlikely that an older adult, or for that matter, anyone of any age, will be able to suddenly start practicing self-care out of the blue merely because they’ve decided to. Practicing self-care takes practice. 

If you’re an older adult, the first step to practicing better self-care is to adjust your daily routine so it becomes healthier. You can do this by incorporating into your routine small acts of kindness to yourself. For instance, taking five minutes out of your morning routine to journal, paint, stretch, or meditate.

The Bottom Line

When older adults practice self-care, they can improve not only their overall health but also their overall standard of living. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where isolation-induced health troubles among older adults have increased while the overall quality of life for many people, not just older seniors, has decreased.

This is a guest blog entry.