134 Growing Older
Problems with seeing and hearing
As they get older, many women are not able to see and
hear as well as they used to. Women with seeing or hearing
problems are more likely to have accidents, and less likely to
work outside the home or to take part in community life.
Problems with seeing
After the age of 40, it is common
to have problems seeing close objects
clearly. This is called being farsighted.
Often eye glasses will help.
A woman should also watch for
signs of too much pressure from
fluid in the eye (glaucoma), which
can damage the inside of her eye and
lead to blindness. Acute glaucoma starts suddenly, with severe
headache or pain in the eye. The eye will also feel hard to the
touch. Chronic glaucoma usually is not painful, but a woman
slowly starts to lose vision to the side. If possible, older women
should get their eyes checked at a health center for these
problems. For more information, see Where There Is No Doctor
or another general medical book.
Problems with hearing
Many women over the age of 50
have hearing loss. Other people
may overlook the problem since
they cannot see it. Or they may
start to leave the person out of
conversations and social activities.
If you notice that you are losing your hearing, here are some
things you can do:
• Sit facing the person you are talking to.
• Ask family members and friends to speak
slowly and clearly. But tell them not to
shout. Shouting can make words even
more difficult to understand.
• Turn off radios or televisions when
participating in conversations.
• Ask a health worker if your hearing loss
can be treated with medicines, surgery, or
by using a hearing aid.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012