Keep an eye on your eyes.
That’s the advice Las Vegas ophthalmologist Dr. Marietta Nelson shares with baby boomers.
Far too often, she says, men and women born between 1946 and 1964 are unaware of age-related eye diseases — ignorance that prevents them from doing what is necessary to protect their future vision.
Studies have shown that baby boomers comprise the age group with the most people who have vision loss.
“Baby boomers should get a checkup once a year,” she says.
Most boomers, she notes, will find that they need bifocals, eyeglasses with two distinct optical powers. They’re commonly prescribed to people with farsightedness caused by age-related loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye.
Individuals who need bifocals often also require a correction for nearsightedness and astigmatism, which make objects up close and at a distance appear blurry.
Nelson says boomers frequently learn that the reason activities such as reading or driving become difficult is because of the formation of a cataract, an age-related clouding of the lens of the eye.
“With today’s technology, we can generally easily deal with cataracts,” Nelson says. “Loss of sight from cataracts is largely preventable.”
Frequently using no-stitch/small incision surgery, eye surgeons remove the cloudy lens of the eye and replace it with a plastic lens implant.
Nelson says that a key reason for yearly eye checkups is detection of glaucoma. a series of diseases that damage the optic nerve. Because symptoms are often slight, glaucoma freqnently goes undetected until permanent vision loss has occurred.
“If we catch it early, we we can largely prevent damage,” she says of the disease that cannot be cured.
A routine eye examination can detect glaucoma, which is usually caused by an increase in the fluid pressure of the eye.
Nelson says a combination of eye drops, medication and laser treatement can help lower the pressure inside eye to prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Thursday in the Life section. Contact him at pharasim@reviewjournal.