Pam Rainey: Fresh look at vision care

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The morning of my latest “incident” started off uneventfully enough.

After watching the televised weather report to learn if it would be a spring-like winter day or require layers upon layers of clothing, I dressed in a hurry. Almost ready to go out the door, I paused and mentally questioned myself for readiness.

Had I turned off the curling iron? Were my reading glasses and cellphone in my handbag, and were my keys by the door? Then, a nagging question raced across my mind: Had I applied deodorant? Maybe not.

Rushing back into the bathroom, I grabbed the orange can and applied what was in it. Moments later, I knew it wasn’t just any other day.

My underarms were on fire but I smelled delightful.

The evidence of my haste and befuddlement lay on the bathroom counter. I had confused the orange can of extra-dry deodorant with the orange can of purely citrus orange air freshener that promised to eliminate odors.

Oh my. What a morning. And tell me again, why were my reading glasses in my handbag?

While my story is a true one and caused by haste, serious eye problems can occur in seniors. Physicians suggest all adults have an eye exam every one or two years. I have an eye exam every year because I wear contacts.

My husband’s story should persuade everyone to have a routine eye exam. He was encouraged by his physician to go to the ophthalmologist after years of neglecting his eyes. At the examination, his doctor discovered a melanoma in the iris of his eye.

The following day, we were sent to Dallas for surgery to remove the cancer. Thankfully, that has been more than 10 years ago, and he did not lose his vision. He is alive, well and working as hard as ever.

According to the National Institutes of Health, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, but they can be treated with modern surgical techniques. The institute also notes that glaucoma, another leading cause of blindness, usually has no symptoms until the late stages of the disease, which means that glaucoma can only be detected by regular eye examinations.

After looking online to find out what Medicare eye care is covered in 2013, it is difficult to know for sure. I suggest you contact your Part B provider of Medicare to learn if your secondary insurance will cover visits to the ophthalmologist.

That is exactly what I plan to do, as I had a “Medicare birthday” in February. After paying health care premiums of $1,000 per month for many years because I am self-employed and have pre-existing conditions, I am thrilled to be joining my Medicare circle of friends.

So, if you have not had your eyes checked in a while, have you made your appointment to have your eye exam? It is an exam that I won’t overlook.

And you can rest assured that I will always put the air freshener back in its proper place — far removed from the deodorant. Always.

PAM RAINEY is a longtime Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at or 940-367-1188.

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