Q. I’m concerned that I may not be seeing as well as I used to. What should I do?
A. There are many signs that indicate possible vision loss. Under normal circumstances, do you have trouble recognizing faces of people you know? Is it difficult for you to read, sew, match the color of your clothes? Do lights seem dimmer than they used to?
Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better your chances are for successful treatment and maintaining your vision.
Regular eye exams should be part of your routine health care. However, if you think your vision has changed, you should see your eyecare professional as soon as possible.
Devices and rehabilitation programs can help you adapt to vision loss. They may help you maintain your lifestyle.
These devices include: adjustable lighting; large-print publications; magnifying devices; closed-circuit televisions; electronic reading machines; computer systems with voice-recognition; telephones, clocks and watches with large numbers.
Q. I’m beginning to have trouble with my hearing. Is there anything I can do short of getting hearing aids?
A. There other “hearing aids” you should consider. There are listening systems to help you enjoy television or radio without being bothered by other sounds around you. Some hearing aids can be plugged directly into TVs, music players, microphones, and personal FM systems to help you hear better.
Some telephones work with certain hearing aids to make sounds louder and remove background noise. And some auditoriums, movie theaters, and other public places are equipped with special sound systems that send sounds directly to your ears.
Alerts such as doorbells, smoke detectors, and alarm clocks can give you a signal that you can see or a vibration that you can feel. For example, a flashing light can let you know someone is at the door or on the phone.
Q. Recently, my pharmacist told me to take my statin before bedtime. She said that was the best time. It made me think what other information she has that I should ask her about. What questions should I ask?
A. Don’t be afraid to throw a lot of questions about your medicines at your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Here are some good ones:
When should I take it? As needed, or on a schedule? Before, with or between meals? At bedtime?
How often should I take it?
How long will I have to take it?
How will I feel once I start taking this medicine?
How will I know if this medicine is working?
If I forget to take it, what should I do?
What side effects might I expect? Should I report them?
Can this medicine interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medicines — including herbal and dietary supplements — that I am taking now?
And, ask your pharmacist to put your medicine in large, easy-to open containers with large-print labels.
Cicetti is a health care writer with 50 years of journalistic experience.