Eye doctors seeing dramatic increase in elderly patients, vision loss Submitted: 03/14/2014
Story By Kalia Baker

Eye doctors seeing dramatic increase in elderly patients, vision loss
WAUSAU - For the aging population, changes in eyesight means changes in overall health.

Dr. Jeffrey Sarazen has been an eye doctor for more than 25 years.

He sees between 100-200 patients at Envision Eyecare in Wausau every week.

Dr. Sarazen says he's seen a dramatic increase in elderly patients, mostly because of overall health issues of the elderly.

"We are seeing almost an epidemic of diabetes, especially here in Northern Wisconsin. That is one of the number one causes of vision loss," said Dr. Sarazen. "If we can talk to a patient about eating right, exercising, and not developing diabetes, they're certainly not going to develop any vision loss from diabetic retinopathy."

Driving after the age of 60, overall health issues and cataracts are the most common reasons for elderly patient visits.

Sarazen belives most vision problems can be prevented. One prevention is wearing safety glasses to prevent minor injuries like walking into sharp objects, or open cabinets.

"The other thing is getting a regular eye exam. People think getting an eye exam is just looking at the eye chart, determining which [eye] is better, one or two, and that's the eye exam, getting checked for glasses," said Dr. Sarazen "An eye exam has a lot more than that. We're checking the health of the eye."

Dr. Sarazeb encourages everyone to get a regular eye exam.

He also thinks anyone caring for an elderly person should check to see if any of their health conditions or medications could effect their eye sight.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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The Crandon School Board voted unanimously Friday evening to change the wording of superintendent Dr. Doug Kryder's absence from the district.

Kryder is now on "paid administrative leave." Originally, he had been "suspended with pay."

The board said it made the change based on advice of its lawyer. The board met for two and a half hours in closed session on Friday.

Kryder is under investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

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CRANDON - Planners in Tomahawk dreamed about a bike loop around the city starting in the early 2000s.

Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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MERRILL - Police say a Stevens Point man tried to pay to have sex 15-year-old girl. 
Police arrested Leo Pelot, 67, on Tuesday. 

According to a criminal complaint, an undercover agent with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office posed as the 15-year-old's aunt. 

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RHINELANDER - The warmer weather might have you spending more time outside with man's best friend.

But the remaining snow and ice could increase the risk of injury for dogs.

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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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