31 Days To An Improved Me…Day 25: Eye Health

Healthy HabitsEveryone needs a little self-improvement, right? That’s why I’ve set a personal challenge for the month of July to tweak here and there areas in my life that need some extra attention. Nothing radical mind you. Just little things I can do to bring more clarity, more joy, and more vitality to improve my daily routine.

Day 25: Eye Health

 

My Problem: I’ve been using reading glasses for almost 5 years and I keep needing to up my magnification (I am now at 2.75). Lately I’ve begun to notice that I’m having a hard time with more than just reading a book or going on the computer. The TV doesn’t seem as sharp and road signs are getting a little fuzzy too. It’s been two years since my last eye check-up, so maybe it would be a good idea to see what is going on.

My Goal: Get an eye exam to check not only for vision but for eye health.

My Plan: Why should I be concerned about my eye health and get a regular eye exam? Because, even if you don’t have any eye issues, your ability to focus can start to decline as early as your 20’s and definitely by your mid-40’s. Everyone experiences a significant amount of decline with their vision acuity by the time they are in their 50’s – simply a result of the aging process – and require some type of vision correction.

I really had to think ahead to get in this eye appointment for my 31 Days For An Improved Me. I have Kaiser health insurance. When I called to request an appointment, I had to book it 3 weeks in advance. And that wasn’t even at my closest facility. If I wanted to go to the optometrist in my city, it would have taken 6 weeks to get the appointment.

I arrived on time, checked in, and sat down in the waiting room. After about 15 minutes, the nurse called my name and told me the doctor I had my appointment with was running 25 minutes behind. To make it seem like I was being seen, she told me to wait in a smaller waiting room, closer to the exam room I would be using (Ah…patient psychology). After another 20 minutes of waiting (thank heavens for smart phones, the best waiting room entertainment), the technician called my name and had me sit down at a fancy machine to determine a) at what point my eyes got blurry when looking at an object, and 2) determine what kind of pressure was in my eye (for glaucoma). That was done by blowing a puff of air into each pupil. After, I was released back to the waiting room.Eye exam

Finally, after another 10 minutes of waiting, the doctor called my name (he butchered it by the way). Ushering me into an exam room, he looked over my health record. Kaiser is very thorough with all their appointments. They review your entire medical history before doing any kind of examination. I was given your “typical” eye exam. You know, where you look at various eye charts, and using various kinds of lens, you tell the doctor which lens you saw clearer with. I always sweat all that trial and error stuff.  I don’t want to seem too anxious with my response or be too off in what I think I am seeing.Eye exam2

After the vision testing, the doctor did a health check, looking for symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, a progressive disease that typically doesn’t start until age 65. He shined a bright light in my pupil, searching for any eye health problems.

After the screening, the doctor told me that my eyes have gotten to the point of needing full-time corrective lenses for reading, close-up work, and even driving. He said that over-the-counter reading glasses are fine at first, but because most people have different vision requirements for each eye, you can’t rely on those types of glasses to efficiently help you. And that was indeed true for my case. My left eye was .25 worse than my right eye.

He gave me a prescription for progressive lenses – ones that gradually go from distance correction down to up close needs, all in the same lens. He also gave me a prescription for glasses to be used just for the computer; a good thing since I am at my computer for many hours a day.

He also reported that my eye health was good. I had no signs of any eye diseases at this time. Phew.

So, at age 54, I will be getting my first pair of glasses. That should be an interesting experience.

Day 25: Eye Health