National Geographic : 1957 Oct
Can you always believe your eyes? When watching feats of magic, you're almost inclined to believe what your eyes seem to see. In another and far more important way, you can be misled by your eyes ... and not know it. For example, some eye disorders develop so slowly that they are often not noticed in the beginning. In fact, the eyes may seem perfectly all right at the very time they are misleading you. So, the best safeguard you can take against eye trouble that you may not suspect is to have your eyes and those of each member of your family-examined periodically by specialists. It is particularly wise to have a child's eyes checked early in the pre-school years, before eye disorders can seriously hamper personality development or interfere with educational progress when he starts to school. Today, authorities estimate that about 9 million school children need some form of eye care. Adults. especially after age 40, should have their eyes examined at least every two years by an eye specialist. This is the surest way to guard against glaucoma and cataract, the two major threats to the sight of older people. These eye examinations have an added value. They may lead to early diagnosis and control of diabetes, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. Treatment for many eye diseases has been vastly im proved recently. The antibiotic drugs work wonders in many eye infections, and hormone compounds save sight in some eyes which would be doomed without them. Moreover, glaucoma-blindness can be avoided in most cases when diagnosed early and treated properly. Sight lost due to cataracts can be restored by surgery in almost 90 percent of the cases. Delicate surgical operations may also restore vision in some cases where the retina has become detached. It is possible, too, to restore vision in certain kinds of cases, by transplanting the cornea from good to diseased eyes. Medical progress in sight-saving isa great achievement. However, good sight throughout life depends largely on what you do to give your eyes the regular care they deserve.