Elders can live vibrantly

Elders can live vibrantly, even as the light dims

By Roberta B. Ness

My extraordinary 95-year-old mother-in-law – the one who every week plays bridge, attends book group and takes two continuing education classes – still plays piano. As a young woman, she helped work her way through college teaching piano and accompanying professionals. Making music remains one of the loves of her life. Except that her future prospects with the instrument are not good. You see, she’s going blind. Fortunately she stopped driving years ago.

Visual impairment in the elderly is almost a given. By the time Anglos are in their 80s, over 70 percent of them will have experienced a cataract according to the National Eye Institute. The rates are quite a bit lower (about 54 percent) but still substantial (for unclear reasons) among African-Americans. Because the purpose of the eye’s lens is to focus light entering the retina, opacity makes things appear hazy and less colorful.

 Cataract sufferers experience halos around objects in the dark and generally poor night vision. For those of us who wear glasses, it is like realizing that we can’t see well because we’re looking through badly smudged lenses.

Thankfully, in this age of modern miracles, cataracts are readily treatable. Surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis and cataracts account for only 9 percent of blindness. However, cataracts can creep up on us; if we find ourselves having to rev up the pace of getting new glasses/contact lenses, it is not necessarily just “normal aging.”…….

Read more: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/health/article/Elders-can-live-vibrantly-even-as-the-light-dims-10828714.php

Source: Houston Chronicle