Paul Jenson at Renton Vision Source near downtown Renton, Washington talks about senior eye health. As we age, subject to our genetics, we can get macular degeneration, a fairly common condition where central vision gets to become blurred, which makes reading and driving more difficult. If you don’t take care of these things, you can go blind. If you struggle even a little on your driver’s exam, get your eyes checked. A normal person over 60 should get an annual visit.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to answers for elders everyone, and I’m here with a very special guest who has not been with us before, and he is Dr Paul Jensen, who is an optometric physician with all over thirty years experience here in greater puget sound and he has his own eye care practice, Paul, in Renton. Is that correct? That it’s correct. And Paul, that what is the name of your practice? It is rent and vision source. Wonderful. That’s wonderful. And where you located? Near Downtown Renton. That’s perfect and you’ll we can certainly give that contact information at the end of the of the segment here. But Dr Paul Has Been Gracious enough to share with us a little bit about senior eye health. We all, as we know, we get older and a lot of us are wearing bifocals, like myself, and used to be contact lens where and now I can’t do that anymore. When I’m sure, Paul, you find that pretty common. As we age, our eyes change rely. Sure. So just tell us a little bit about General Ie health as we get older. What happens to our eyes? Well, older people really have a number of issues that they have to face that are in some ways preventable. Other reason, we kind of are subject to our genes into what’s going to happen to us, and so there are several different conditions that we really look at carefully to make sure that we are doing the right thing from prevention as well as treatment, when we need to well and what aren’t cut some things that we can do on prevention. Well, the number one condition that we see for older people as far as vision loss or blindness is macular degeneration. Wow, macular degeneration is a fairly common condition where the central vision gets to be very blurred, kind of hazed out. Is Very, very frustrating. It, I’m sure the things we want to do in most driving, reading get to be most difficult. When you look right at something it kind of disappears. Well, very, very frustrated to have. Now is that preventable in some ways? Yeah, it can be at least partially preventable. I always tell people to the way to prevent most conditions, whether their eye disease or anything else. I tell people do what your mother told you and that is, for example, don’t smoke, get enough rest, eat right. Just a good, healthy, strong body is this thing for healthy, strong eye share. Sure, and I’m sure just thinking it through too. Is is that, you know, if have your eyes checked frequently? I mean don’t I I mean I talk to people all the time. They haven’t been to one eye doctor in like ten years, which concerns me. It’s like there’s so many things that can happen with an eye that you don’t maybe realize it’s going on if you don’t have somebody checking all. We see that every day, you know. I see people and I think, boy, I wish I had seen you, you know, a year ago or rather than rather than waiting ten years. Sure can take a run up to these things. Yeah, absolutely. And and yet you know, we always think about, oh well, I’ll go get my eyes checked another day. It’s not it’s not any cute scenario. Sometimes, I know people are very adaptable. When things change gradually, like a cataract or macular degeneration, it’s a really easy to just kind of adapt to it, put it often and kind of get along. Where is, if we can nip it in the bud, get it early, have much, much better chance. And I can imagine too. I remember as a child. This is when I first found out that I was in your sighted. You know, I didn’t even realize initially that I needed glasses until my parents took me to a sonics game, believe it or not, and I couldn’t see the numbers on the jerseys, and so my mom seed you can’t, I go what numbers on the jerseys, and so they took me immediately to an eye doctor and I think I was like in eighth grade something like that. Sure enough, I was I had to have wear glasses. It’s a time right. So in for elders as well. You know, had a lady in a couple days ago. She was almost completely blind and it was just a gradual change with cataract. That is very preventable kind of problem and easily fixed, I know, without a quick surgery. And you know, years ago we could have fixed that for her and it she just kind of adapted and kind of didn’t bother her over time. Yeah, and so the sad part is obviously when you’re talking about lady that wasn’t that, it was almost blind. If you don’t take care of this stuff, you could go line. Oh, sure, it happens a lot time. My job is to yeah, yes, I well, you know I love the fact that we’re talking about this topic is we’ve never talked about it on the show before. I think that there’s so many things that we just take our eyes for granted until we don’t have them and and that’s the hard part, I know, as our vision gets worse, as we get old get older, it’s it’s a grave concern. So what are some of the things that if we are seniors, what are the things we should look out for? Well, for one thing, a lot of people get caught on their driver’s license exam. So if you struggle even a little bit on that probably be worth even if you pass, it’s nice to maybe come on in and get a check just so that we can prevent something down the road. Those are the little things that we ask people to kind pay more attention to. Sure, and obviously you know how often should someone have it, I. Exam. I mean what’s the standard rule of them? Well, for a normal healthy over sixty year old, we recommend annual, okay, and the doctors will recommend maybe a sooner interval depending on what’s going on. If there’s some active disease process is something to watch, then we would we check the more often, but but annual would be just for a just routine check just to pick up those conditions. And do you find it after people reach a certain age that they’re that their conditions start to escalate or not? Is it did really depend on the individual? Well, it depends on the condition to I mean a lot of things, most things that we look at, from macular degeneration to Gola Cooma to cataract diabetic disease, which is an whole nother category. Ishes that’s true. Those things definitely get worse as we get older, although of those, you know we can do quite a bit to help prevent changes of particularly with the diabetics, that diabetes is actually the second leading cause of blindness for all that people. And boy, if we can get the blood sugar stable, that is just that means everything that can help. And I’m at I can imagine when you’re saying that there’s a lot of things that you know, chemically in in a seniors body can affect their vision. I know that it certainly can affect Alzheimer’s and dementia sure symptoms. So I can only imagine that that contributes to many other sensory type of things, especially involving the brain. It couldn’t affect your your vision. Oh sure, sure. In fact, if you think about the eye, it’s just kind of it’s got every bit of tissue that the entire body has. It’s got nerves, it’s got connective tissue with’s got blood, vessels, lasts, got a little bit of everything, and so conditions that would affect like diabetes, are high blood pressure, that would affect any of those tissues will show up in the eye very, very frequently. We see that every day. Wow. And we are talking to Dr Paul Jensen from Renton, Washington and he is has a clinic. Again, what is the name of your clinic? Is Rent and vision source, rent envision service source, source, rensten vision source. And just a little bit about, you know, common problems. You know how like cataracts are pretty easy to take care of and those that’s basically like a little lens over your eye. Isn’t it that that you can’t cause you not to be able to see as well? Is that? Is that really what a cataract is? A cataract is the kind of clouding of the Natural Lens. A child is born with a crystal clear lens inside. The addit of the focusing. It’s the same lens that gives a little rigid and why we need buyfocals, but eventually it’ll begin to cloud. We kind of look at cataract like gray hair. It’s really not a disease. It’s just the natural progression that we see and we take care of and we need to. It would be kind of odd, you know, for a teenager to have a cataract and that we would look for something. Maybe you come specially going on, but for the would be do over six thousand and sixty five, we just considered a normal part of life and we handle it when we need to. Yes, and and then as far as glaucoma, that’s a whole other story. That’s that’s a very different condition. Tell me a little bit about Glaucoma. Glaucoma is nerve damage due to a high fluid pressure in the eye. And the funny thing about it you think if you have a high pressure in the eye that you’d feel it, that you’d be uncomfortable or have some pain. And unfortunately, really the only way to check for Glaucoma is to have it checked by a doctor, because it is painless. It’s called the right the silent thief of vision. You know, it just kind of creeps along and you just got to stay on top of it to make sure that it’s not an issue. Yeah, it does run in families very predominantly. So if it’s in the family, that’s something that we really recommend people have checked. Well, that’s interesting. I Have Glaucoma. I don’t know if I ever told you that, and my father had it. So very much what you’re saying. That’s very true. Well, you know what, I’m a suspect to my father has it as well. So it isn’t that interesting and common. What causes? I mean, is it just a condition? That’s just cause there isn’t anything specifically that causes it. Is there? You know there are. There can be conditions, either medical conditions or medications that people take that can cause glaucoma. But buy a large about eighty percent of the time we really don’t know. Well where there is just something that we see that we follow that we do the testing and you know a lot of people who are kind of borderline, in fact, on one of those I call the Glaucoma suspect. Many, many of us are suspects who never go on to have glaucoma, but those are the the tricky ones. Ree I can have to wait out and do little extra testing to see which people really do go on to have the condition. And the Glaucoma test, I believe, for those of us that have been through it, is that little puff on your eye. And then there’s also a different type of a test. I know that you guys do well, there’s quite a variety of tests and that’s, let me tell you, that’s the photographs feel exactly what I’ve been through all of those kind of thing. Good for you. Well, good to keep on top of it, right. Yeah, but probably the air puff is the one thing that stops people from wanting to come get their eyes check. Just don’t like that. You know, it’s interesting. I used to never have a problem with the air puff and now when they do it, it because I obviously have higher pressures in my eye. It it I it bothers me more so that it used to. Well, that’s that’s more I porton now than it was before. Absolutely my my worst one, though, is, I have to say, the visual fields. That is, just move with somebody. That is a type a you know, no patients kind of thing. It’s kind of hard to get in the zone and just watch that little like pop up baller rate. Yes, so, Paul, tell us a little bit about what your specialty is, and we’re going to go into another segment here shortly, but tell us about your specialty and what you do in your center. Well, we do see in my in my general practice, we see any conditioned from classes of contacts to Glaucoma and cataracts, macular degeneration, all that kind of stuff is m my specialty is in dry eyes and I do have a separate practice and we’re going to talk all about that for great and how what is your website? In your phone number? How do we reach you? The phone numbers. The easiest phone number you’ll ever here’s forty five to five, five, twenty and twenty. A lot of my doctors have the two thousand and twenty phone number. I love that. So that’s that’s the that’s easy as four, five, five, two thousand and twenty area code. Four to five. And what is your website? It is Renton visioncom rent in Visioncom Paul is some been so great having you on the program and we look forward to talking to you again soon. Thank you, Sam. What a pleasure
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.