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Dr. Gott: Wife lets vanity cloud her judgment

Tue., April 28, 2009

Dear Dr. Gott: You are my last hope. My wife has Parkinson’s, but is doing well. Oddly enough, that is not our problem. The problem is her resistance to wearing glasses. Vanity has reared its ugly head, and she has opted not to use her glasses but has instead chosen to use store-bought reading glasses. Sadly, she still needs the distance glasses we paid a lot of money for.

She went to an eye doctor for an exam. We bought glasses for $500, which were destroyed by one of our dogs. They could have been replaced for the price of new lenses, but that wasn’t what she wanted, so we went off to another doctor for yet another exam and this time ordered a pair for the grand total of $700. Well, they aren’t really what she likes, so she won’t use them. I’m going crazy. She needs glasses to read and see distance. She says bifocals make her dizzy, and she refuses to wear them. I can’t convince her that they take getting used to before they feel good.

She reads your column religiously, and I know if she hears the same advice from you, she would heed it and use the glasses or at least go back to her eye doctor for help.

Dear Reader: It appears some things are within your control and others are not. Despite the fact that you care deeply, keeping your sanity must remain at the top of your priority list. Don’t even bother to waste your money on another exam or glasses if she cares so little that she allows the dog to use them as a chew toy.

Share your concerns with your wife, especially if she cannot see any distance without appropriate glasses. If she refuses bifocals, suggest that she get two pairs of glasses, one for reading and the other for distance vision. That way, she can’t complain about dizziness from the bifocals but will be able to see more clearly. If she continues to resist glasses, your hands may be tied.

It’s bad enough she might fall down a flight of stairs or have an accident at home because of poor vision, but your wife also has a diagnosed neurological condition that could cause gait abnormality, unsteadiness, dementia and more. She needs all the help she can get, and that includes seeing where she is walking.

I can only hope that she is no longer driving an automobile. To allow vanity to cause an accident or hit someone while on the road or when parking the car in a busy grocery-store lot would be a disaster. No one needs the grief or the expense. If she has a driver’s license, I suggest you share your concerns with her physician who should contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state and request a new driving test. If her vision causes a problem, she may be required to retake the test following an eye exam and could be required to wear glasses, at least when driving.

To provide related information on the condition that should be at the top of your wife’s priority list, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Parkinson’s Disease.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a check or money order for $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dr. Peter Gott is a retired physician. He writes for United Media. Readers can contact Dr. Gott c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th fl., New York, NY 10016.


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