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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