The docs give advice: Careful with the new glasses

King Features SyndicateJuly 3, 2014 

The super-nearsighted 1960s cartoon character Mr. Magoo was always getting into trouble because he couldn't see what was going on. (He refused to wear his glasses.) But he would bumble along until, at the end of each adventure, he would save the day and declare, "Oh, Magoo, you've done it again!"

Magoo was amusing, but vision problems aren't a laughing matter for the 220 million North Americans who wear corrective lenses. If you're among that number, be aware that as you age, your vision may change, so you'll need a new prescription.

Don't be surprised if your new prescription takes some getting used to (we bet that's why Magoo didn't wear his). And if you're 65 or older, any change in your lenses puts you at increased risk for falls, particularly if you also have muscle weakness, gait or foot problems, low blood pressure or sensory impairments, or take meds that make you dizzy.

Ophthalmologists suggest that you skip a prescription change unless it's absolutely necessary and avoid switching from single to bifocal or progressive lenses; instead, opt for one pair of glasses for distance and one for reading. If you've already adjusted to bifocals or progressive lenses, however, stick with those.

But if a new prescription is necessary, let your eyes adjust, and then practice walking (with someone helping) in a protected environment. If you can't get comfortable, ask for a lighter prescription. And if you're simply a slave to fashion, just get new frames.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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