Good morning! Yesterday I spent over two hours at the Optometrists with Dr. Kim Norris getting one of the most thorough eye exams I have ever had. When I walked out with my Oakley shades on, my pupils totally dilated and struggling to focus, I recognized very quickly just how priceless my eyes are. Doctors can replace all kinds of organs but eyes are pretty hard to replace.
At my last flight physical, a 3rd Class Medical for my Private Pilot Certificate, I walked away with something that I had never had before. That is a restricted PPL that states “must have corrective lenses available for near vision”. This is the first time I have ever had a restriction on my PPL….it begins to ring close to home that me and my eyes are getting older. That is why I stopped, got away from the 12 – 18 hour a day pace for a bit to take a serious look at my health, specifically my eyes. The final analysis of my visit was that my vision is absolutely perfect beyond the reach of my arms. She said, “Jim, short of reading, you have perfect pilot eyes, you just need help up close”….hence, corrective lens to take care of the chart reading in the cockpit.
One other aspect that a thorough eye exam looks into is Glaucoma. For me, we have been watching this for awhile. For some reason my eyes have been displaying a minor “cupping” in the region of the Optic Nerve for the last 3 - 4 years. Right now it seems that my condition fits into a 1 – 2% portion of the bell curve of the population that either has or exhibits Glaucoma. Right now, it seems that like I was borne with my Optic Nerves “cupped” this way and we just happened to discover it about 4 years ago; great news in the long run. The way the issue is being addressed is by an annual check-up for my eyes. So now my eyes are addressed, next stop means a complete physical…. Oh boy, I can’t wait!
So why am I writing this little story about such personal matters. I write because I want to encourage each of you to pull away from the things you do every day to take care of yourself for a moment. No one else is going to do it for you; you have to do it. If you are going to fly, you need to do it even more. Physical issues, personal issues and psychological issues all affect your ability to fly safely; not addressing these issues could cost you dearly not to mention those that love and care about you. Start today! Do it because it is good for you to do it. Start eating better, getting more exercise, work less, fly more, hug the ones you love more, enjoy life and take care of yourself. Sorry to tell you this.....we are not getting any younger.
54 comes after 53!