Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Pat Ferguson, former President and CEO

Seniors – keep an eye on your eyes


In anticipation of Grandparents Day – September 11 in Canada and the US – I’d like to draw attention to vision issues that may affect seniors.

If you’re a senior reading this or a grandparent (like I am), you probably already know how important it is to safeguard your vision. If you’re a younger person, take note.

This grandfather can now see. (Photo by Rick Castiglione)

Statistics show that the world’s population is aging, and as the number of older people grows, eye health issues like low vision and blindness become acute. Visual impairment often contributes to injuries and death in older people, but timely intervention can delay the effects of age-related blinding conditions.

For those of us living in wealthy nations like Canada, our health care systems include eye care as part of the package. For you and me, the major threat as we grow older is cataract (clouding of the lens), followed by age-related macular degeneration (loss of central vision), which is a growing problem. For these and other vision threats, help is available to us as long as we’re paying attention to our health.

But that isn’t the case in many counties, especially throughout Africa where primary eye care just isn’t a priority. This is one of the areas where Operation Eyesight is at work, encouraging national governments in Africa to include plans for eye care in their national health strategies.

Globally, blindness among seniors is a major health issue. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people in the world who are blind or visually impaired is 285 million.

Of those, 65 percent are over the age of 50. Imagine how tragic it must be like to be blind and poor – and old!

The risk of vision-impairing conditions like cataract grows exponentially with increasing age. Because the majority of cataract blindness is in people ages 45 and up, there are many grandparents in developing countries who have never even seen their grandchildren. Children are often affected because they get pulled out of school to serve as the “eyes” for a blind grandparent.

I know for a fact that part of the joy of growing older is seeing your grandchildren. We have a new video I’d like you to see, about a man who hadn’t seen his kids and grandchildren for 10 years. Watch for the part where he returns to his family with his eyes healed, and his wife gets him to prove he can see by picking up a water tub on the other side of the yard. I guarantee it will make you smile.

For more success stories like this, visit our website. Thanks for reading … and remember not to take your eyesight for granted!

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