Evelyn Hannon: Aging Disgracefully


Why I Never Leave Home Without My Red Eye Glasses

And Why Seniors Need To Make Their Eye Health A Priority

Why I Never Leave Home Without My Red Eye Glasses

I’m 74 years old, a travel journalist and a photographer.

Some women my age won’t leave home without putting on their single strand of cultured pearls. I feel the same way about my bright red granny glasses. Not only do they help me to see, they are my absolute best fashion accessory. They truly make me happy.

As the editor of journeywoman.com, the largest online travel resource for women, I am often photographed and interviewed by the media. Luckily for me, the granny glasses that I love have become part of my personal 'trademark' and professional brand. I’m often stopped on the street and asked, 'Are you Journeywoman? I recognize your glasses.'   

It’s humorous, but now even my grandchildren associate me with my red granny 'brand.'  I realized this recently when I saw the place card they created for me for a family dinner:

Yet by the time I understood the interesting marketing effect of those red glasses, that particular style and colour was discontinued. I looked everywhere for them. I refused to take no for an answer.

On travel assignments in London, Paris, and Rome, I continuously scoured optician shops. While other tourists were busy buying jewelry and souvenirs, I had only one objective — to locate a spare pair of those fabulous glasses. In France, I pointed to my own glasses and said, 'Je cherche des lunettes rouges comme celles-ci' (I’m looking for red glasses just like these). In Italy, it was, 'Sto cercando gli occhiali rossi come questi.' Each time, I was disappointed because the answer was always, 'No.'

To be truly honest, while I love being fashion forward, I’ve never forgotten that my glasses are first and foremost my window to the world. Long hours staring at a computer screen strains my eyes. And how can anyone take good photographs if what one sees is distorted? To do my work well, seeing clearly is a must!

I’m surprised that not everybody feels as strongly about their eyes and eyewear as I do. Many of my senior pals are using those cheap magnifying glasses that can be found at Dollar Stores. They simply assume that with age your eyesight is bound to get weaker. It’s perfectly natural. You don’t need an eye doctor to tell you that.

I hate to be a goody-goody, but I always remind them that those cheap glasses shouldn’t replace an annual visit to a Doctor of Optometry to check their eye health. At our age, it’s extremely important to be vigilant because the most common causes of serious vision loss (like cataracts and glaucoma) occur later in life. The good news is with help from a Doctor of Optometry, 75 per cent of vision loss can be prevented or treated.

I learned that important lesson during an eye exam last year. Though I saw no real deterioration in my sight, my optometrist did see some warning signs and ordered further testing. To my great surprise, I was diagnosed with age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a disease that results in degenerative changes to your central vision. This eye disease usually affects people 50+, and over one million Canadians have some form of AMD. Though there is no cure, my optometrist has recommended a specific high-dose vitamin formulation to reduce the risk of the condition progressing.

Preventative care for your eyes is essential for preserving and maintaining eye health. Serious diseases have no warning signs, so early detection is key. Take a look at this short video for more info on how you can help prevent eye disease:

All I can say is, thank goodness I kept up with my annual check-ups. I can’t imagine losing my vision all together, not being able to see my grandkids as they move from tweens to teens and then to adulthood. I can’t imagine not being able to photograph the vibrant fall foliage colors each and every year. And, even though he is now married, I definitely want to keep seeing the latest photos of George Clooney. He makes my heart beat faster!

You'll be pleased to know that this saga has a very positive ending. My Doctor of Optometry is monitoring my eyesight and my last checkup showed absolutely no new vision loss. You can be sure I will continue to take those vitamins!

Plus, right here in my hometown, I looked into yet one more eyewear shop and there they finally were. Just one pair. Red. Fabulous. An exact carbon copy of the originals.

Life is good!

P.S. I suggest that you bookmark the Doctors of Optometry Eye Health Library. It answers many eye-related questions from prevention information to treatment options to eyewear solutions.

Take care of your eyes. We ALL still have so much to see!