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Losing Sight – Baby Boomers and Blindness Part II 

WABI TV5 Script: “Losing Sight – Baby Boomers and Blindness Dr. Mark Varnum: “Glaucoma is a silent disease. There are no symptoms until it’s too late.” Glaucoma is nothing glamorous.Dr. Mark Varnum: “Glaucoma is a disorder where the pressure inside the eye rises to such a point that the optic nerve or the back of the eye can no longer tolerate the pressure and because of the lack of profusion of blood that the nerve fails and dies.”Dr. Mark Varnum says 80-percent of glaucoma is hereditary, however you can get it through injury and from certain medication use. Millions get the disease, but it’s estimated that half the people who have it, don’t know it. And once vision is lost to glaucoma, it cannot be restored.Cataracts are far more common – as the leading cause of blindness in the world, it affects more than 20 million Americans.Dr. Mark Varnum: “The most common thing we see every day in our patients is that when they pass the 60th birthday is cataract formation.”Dr. Marc Daniels: “When you’re born everybody has a lens inside their eye and it’s crystal clear. What happens with age is it becomes darker and instead of looking through a clear lens you’re looking through a dark cataract now.”But it does have a cure. Dr. Marc Daniels is an ocular surgeon.Dr. Marc Daniels: “It’s about a 10 to 12 minute procedure. We make a tiny incision in the eye about 2.5 millimeters in size. We then remove the cataract and inject an implant in the eye. Because the wounds are so small you don’t need stitches, no patch afterwards.”Improved technology has created faster recoveries and for patients like joe la magna who started to lose sight to macular degeneration new treatment options have even restored his vision.Dr. Marc Daniels: “Dramatic improvements have occurred in the last few years. Macular degeneration in the wet form used to be an untreatable disease and people basically lost their vision, we do have good treatment now.” Foresight into the future – Dr. Daniels thinks treatments will become better and better for battling eye diseases.Dr. Marc Daniels: “If I look back on my 30 years what we’re doing today boggles my mind, it was unimaginable then, so if we do the same thing in the next 30 years it’ll be a very bright future.”What could help you the most though is watching out for yourself.Dr. Marc Daniels: “A lot of people assume because their vision is down is because of their glasses and they come in too late. They think well I’ll make an appointment 3-4 months and get new glasses. The important thing is if you think your vision’s changing to come in.”>Experts agree exercise and a healthy diet help maintain eyesight with vitamin A, C, E and beta caratene all serving as important nutrients.