recent survey of the Sandwich Generation (adults 40 to 60 years of age), one quarter of the 2,000 survey respondents
acknowledged they spend more time managing the health of their parents
and/or children than their own health needs. Seventeen percent also acknowledged
that caring for others has had a negative impact on their health –
including eye health.
This comes as no surprise to Key Whitman Eye Center’s
Plano eye doctor Faisal Haq, M.D. As he explains, “A variety of common eye diseases begin to develop
during these two decades of life, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular
degeneration and for diabetics, diabetic retinopathy.
“The earlier we can diagnose these conditions, the better the ability
we have to treat the patient and improve his or her prognosis. Unfortunately,
the people identified in the study often have the hardest time coming
in for regular eye exams.”
Stress and lack of time prevalent in the Sandwich Generation years
The aforementioned survey confirmed that many in the Sandwich Generation
disregard eye health, because they can’t find the time to squeeze
in regular eye exams. Added responsibilities for growing children and
aging parents often take priority and exacerbate another health threat
“Life can be stressful for those in the Sandwich Generation. For
many, it’s a time marked by our most productive years professionally,
kids being raised and parents getting older. So there are unique stresses
that occur during these decades,” Dr. Haq says.
Stress can increase health risks indirectly and directly
According to Dr. Haq, “Stress can affect general health and vision indirectly, because when people are dealing with the stress of juggling multiple
priorities, they often neglect to proactively deal with health concerns.
So that is an indirect consequence of a stressful life.”
As a physician, Dr. Haq regularly sees how stress has a direct impact on
his patient’s health. “Stress can worsen conditions like
dry eye syndrome and exacerbate diabetes, which can affect eye health. In addition, the
immune system can be compromised when our bodies are under stress, which
can create a worsening of symptoms for people who are predisposed to autoimmune
diseases,” Dr. Haq says.
A variety of systemic conditions can manifest in the eyes, too. Dr. Haq
encourages the Sandwich Generation to look out for issues with general
health such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and autoimmune
diseases (multiple sclerosis, arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, etc.).
Learn how autoimmune diseases like arthritis threaten eyesight in this
As Dr. Haq explains, “All of these conditions can have a significant
impact on your health in general, as well as related manifestations in
the eyes. It’s very important to see your primary care physician
and eye doctor regularly when you are in this age range, so they can proactively
diagnose and treat any of these conditions.”
Dr. Haq’s advice? Focus on No. 1, your health and No. 2, the important
things in life
Losing sight of your own health can result in serious health consequences.
Plus, if you end up with health problems of your own, it will be even
more difficult to care for the ones you love. Dr. Haq encourages those
in the Sandwich Generation to find a balance between the needs of loved
ones and personal health needs.
“Exercise is helpful both from a direct health standpoint and from
a stress relief point of view. Yoga might be a good option to consider.
And to find that balance between body and the mind, make time to think
clearly and analyze what truly matters and base your life around that.
“You have to look at what’s in front of you, value what’s
there and not worry so much about the intangibles that you can’t
control,” advises Dr. Haq.
Has it been awhile since your last eye exam?
Dr. Haq has been attending to the eye health and eye surgery needs of Key-Whitman
patients since 2006 and was recently recognized as a “Best Doctor”
in Collin County in
D Magazine’s 2016 poll. Cataracts, vision correction surgery, corneal disease and glaucoma
management are Dr. Haq’s specialties.
To schedule an eye appointment with Dr. Haq at Key-Whitman’s Plano
office – or to schedule an eye exam at our Dallas, Arlington or
Mesquite locations –
(972) 905-9128, or feel free to set up an appointment online here.