Regular readers of this column will know that Dr. Rick Graebe, an optometrist in Versailles, specializes in Vision Therapy, a kind of physical therapy for the eyes, brain and body that has a high success rate for children struggling in school.
While countless student careers have been rescued at Dr. Graebe’s office, the practice is not limited to children only.
In fact, with two other optometrists with extensive geriatric training – Drs. Regina Callihan and Jennifer Brown – Family Eyecare Associates offers cradle to grave care.
Eye health is especially important for older adults, who are at risk for macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
“It’s very important for people to get annual eye exams because many of these problems can be nearly 100% treatable if they’re caught soon enough,” Dr. Graebe said.
Macular Degeneration: Dr. Graebe’s office was the first in the state to install a Macular Pigment Optical Density tester.
This painless, three-minute test detects degeneration of macular pigment, which precedes the permanent loss of central vision with macular degeneration.
The condition is caused either by too much or too little blood flowing to the eye, resulting in center vision loss. This affects reading, watching TV, or any vision involving detail.
Approximately 30% of people 70 and older will contract macular degeneration, which can be slowed by early detection. Dr. Graebe recommends tests at age 40.
Cataracts: This is the natural clouding of the lens in the eye and will affect everyone if they live long enough. It usually strikes by age 70.
Cataracts are 100% treatable and respond to a simple and painless surgical procedure that not only rids the eye of cataracts, but vision is restored as well as after lasik surgery.
That is why many patients no longer need glasses to see in the distance after a cataract procedure.
Glaucoma: Nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma comes with no symptoms and is caused by fluid buildup that leads to excess pressure.
It strikes less than 10% of the population but if left untreated, leads to blindness.
But if caught by regular examination, it is almost 100% treatable with a simple prescription of eye drops.
“It gives us joy to be able to help people and improve their lives no matter their age,” Dr. Graebe said.