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Ophthalmology, Navicent Health Recognizes September as Healthy Aging Month

Treatments are available to slow the progression of many irreversible eye diseases

Vision loss is not a normal byproduct of ageing, but the aging process can increase one's risk of developing a vision impairing disease. Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent recognizes September as Healthy Aging Month and seeks to educate aging members of the community about the resources available to maintain eye health and to treat vision-impairing eye conditions.

"Several vision impairing eye diseases are often associated with the aging process. We can't stop the aging process, but we can change its impact on our quality of life through medical treatments and early diagnosis of eye disease," said Monali Sakhalkar, M.D., ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent.

The following three conditions in particular are most commonly associated with aging:

One cause of vision loss is the development of cataracts, which are protein deposits that build up within the lens of the eye. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cataracts impacts 20.5 million Americans 40 years and older.

For adults over age 40, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is another cause of vision loss. With this disease, the macula of the eye breaks down, causing central vision to blur. According to the CDC, 1.8 million Americans over the age of 50 have AMD.

Glaucoma, optic nerve damage caused by a group of eye conditions, is also a leading cause of vision impairment. As with many eye diseases, there are no symptoms during the initial stages of glaucoma development. However, over time, glaucoma decreases one's field of vision.

Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent offers medical and surgical options to stall the continuation of vision loss for those with these and similar conditions. Precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing eye disease. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and wearing protective eyewear in the sun can ensure eye health at any age.

"As with many diseases, maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of an individual developing eye disease. One aspect of a healthy lifestyle is scheduling regular eye exams, so if any problems develop, they can be detected early," said Dr. Sakhalkar.

If you or a loved one have vision concerns, Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent is here to help. Call 478-633-8033 to schedule an appointment or visit www.navicenthealth.org/op for more information.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for healthcare consumers' through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally-recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit www.navicenthealth.org.


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