Eye test

Beginning in the early to mid-40s, many adults may start to have problems seeing clearly at close distances, especially when reading and working on the computer. This is among the most common problems adults develop between ages 41 to 60. This normal change in the eye's focusing ability, called presbyopia, will continue to progress over time.

My first memory of my mother reading anything other than her teaching stuff was in elementary school when she came home one day with a whole stack of paperbacks from the book-bargain bin Book Sale. By the time I was in high school and she was in her early 40s, she had started wearing glasses. She blamed her deteriorating eye-sight on those paperback books and cautioned us to never read in dim light; to never go to bed with wet hair (not sure if she really said this lol) and sealed the argument with the claim that blindness ran in the family (I actually only know of one, my grandmother's younger brother Ely who had been blind for as long as I can remember growing up).

Initially, you may need to hold reading materials farther away to see them clearly. Or you may need to remove your glasses to see better up close. Print in the newspaper or on a restaurant menu may appear blurred, especially under dim lighting.

Over three years ago, I started having problems focusing on my computer screen. I even blamed it on the fact that it was a PC and even requested for a new one, a bigger and brighter 27-inch iMac. But the problems persisted. There were times later in the day when I would feel slightly faint, my vision blurring. One day my colleague asked me why I was adjusting the distance between myself and the computer screen and I told her that the screen didn't seem to be that clear as I thought it would be. Really she said surprised. Could it just be the fact that maybe you might need glasses? The thought that it was probably my eye-sight all along didn't occur to me at all. You watch out for wrinkles (a good 10 years away I think) or that tell-tale shot of pain in your joints, but you never quite realize that your eye-sight is getting bad, dismissing it as simply part of your exhausting day's side-effects. So off I went and had my first eye-test with local optometry chain OPSM. I remember the day I got my first 'proper' glasses. We went to a cafe for brunch after picking the glasses up and there was that startling moment of realization staring at the food in front of me looking as clear as an HD image, that you hadn't been really looking at the world the way you used to. Something had irrevocably changed and it didn't need your permission or approval. I felt a bit sad but comforted myself with the thought that at least, I got a really great-looking pair of Rayban frames.

During these years, schedule a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist at least every two years to check for developing eye and vision problems. Don't rely on the limited driver's license vision test or other insufficient vision screenings to determine if you have an eye or vision problem.

Adults over 40 who have the following health or work issues may be particularly at risk for developing eye and vision problems:

  • Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  • A highly visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
  • Health conditions related to high cholesterol, thyroid, anxiety or depression, and arthritis for which you take medications. Many medications, even antihistamines, have vision side effects.

So I'm like over a year overdue for the required two-year re-test and at the back of my mind, it's the same strange consistent denial of those little signs- the eye fatigue, shot proof-reading levels as you miss out on words, little twinges in your head at 4pm. So after two cancellations, I finally made it back to the OPSM branch in Papakura which is easier commuting to than the other branch where I had my first test. I've only learned recently that when you go for an eye-test, your results- or your script- is yours; you're not obliged to order your glasses from the tester. OPSM has always been the most expensive one of the chains because they carry high-end labels. Woe to you if you're a label whore. Woe to you if you couldn't afford it. But I can- and would I wear anything else but Raybans??? I must admit though that after two glasses with them, I could feel a slight burn in my pocket (each pair with the lens cost well over $500). 

I've discovered that there a million cheaper but stylish frames out there. There is a site called clearly where you simply send in your script and they make your glasses for you with nice frames starting at under $65. I got a pair from them once, but either I got bits of my script entered incorrectly (I'll make sure I get the script typed as opposed to written down by hand and then photographed with a phone camera!), or the quality was simply not there because the lens view was all wrong. Plus, I chose a frame shape that I later realised didn't really fit my face shape. 


I've been asking around and I think you get what you pay for. The very thorough 45 minutes I spent at OPSM was apparently vastly different (according to co-workers) from the hurried, somewhat fast-food orientated operation of the other competitor chain (Tommy Hilfiger, honestly?). There were a lot of steps- photographing, examination of the inside, heaps of quick-flashing lights; the eye-ball pressure test involved a slightly stinging application of a desensitising liquid followed by yellow dye which I feared, dyed my eyeballs an alarming shade of hepatitis-yellow. 

And when it was all done, my eyes rested on a pair of frames I was actually praying not to see in the shop- Rayban Wayfarer frames; a perfect match to my Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses. 

Now that's a sight for sore eyes...

Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/8843453/Eyeglass-Frames-(GIF)

How do you start...

..the day when this study says skipping it could be good for you (okay, fine; Huffington Post is not exactly a credible source) and some would say that the effects are exactly what I'm looking for- lowered blood pressure and cholesterol.

Filipino breakfasts I miss

Run. For your life

I've never been fat. I've maintained my weight and my waist-line for the last 20 years. I'm fit and toned and I wouldn't be embarrassed at all if, for some weird reason, I would need to take my shirt off in public (!!!???).

But my actual fitness level is atrociously bad. My blood pressure remains quite high in spite of medication, breathing apps, goddamned pitchers of hibiscus tea and garlic tablets. Sure, I'm genetically predisposed to be hypertensive, but that's not an excuse to try and look for a solution. 

I think you have White Coat syndrome said my cover GP the other week. So I had to stay in his office for about 20 minutes, lying on my back to relax while he tried to get another reading. It did go down quite significantly, but inwardly I seethed; I always did significantly well on things that I set out to do and I was losing this badly in spite of what I thought were my best efforts.

So how often does one need to exercise in a given week? Apparently, not enough; walking to and from work from the train station/bus stop, 100 push-ups every other day, the occasional gym.

So I guess I need to step it up.

The American College of Sports Medicine has two basic recommendations for cardio exercise. The first suggests 30 minutes of moderate cardio five times per week, and the second recommends 20 minutes of intense cardio three times per week. Each is adequate for general health and weight maintenance.
I wish I lived near a better gym but lately, I've learned to stop complaining and to pay attention to the treadmill.

I wish I lived near a better gym but lately, I've learned to stop complaining and to pay attention to the treadmill.

Tools to make the run better; get an Apple Watch!

Tools to make the run better; get an Apple Watch!

Tools to motivate; get really great cushioning like Nike Zoom All Out Low

Tools to motivate; get really great cushioning like Nike Zoom All Out Low

Find the perfect ideal place to run; New Zealand as it turns out, is that place.

Find the perfect ideal place to run; New Zealand as it turns out, is that place.


I have about eight more days to go before my next blood-test for cholesterol and in the last couple of weeks, I had bacon only once. I also cut down on my eggs because it felt weird just having eggs without bacon. For me, this is the best breakfast combo- sure, I'll throw in a pancake or two or fresh white toast on occasion, but I'm happy with just the two.

I almost always cook the bacon in the oven without additional oil, and I never salt my eggs; it comforts me a little, these little nods to health. You only live once, so I say, do it moderately. Nothing is worse than being an extreme health nut and getting cancer or a tumour anyway, because it happens. 

So lately, I haven't been eating breakfasts at all save for my usual morning espresso and would have my first proper meal of the day at lunch, usually at 12:30. And I feel just fine. I've heard that this sort of 'fasting' may actually be beneficial. I also like the feeling of a tight, taut and empty stomach.

But I need my fibre, my complex carbs and my proteins and this morning I finally took a closer look at the cereal/breakfast aisle and saw all these...mmmmm..options

Food for days

I had my regular blood tests done recently and this time prior to taking it, I didn't try to 'control' the outcome which meant eating food I 'preferred' versus food I 'should be eating'. Mind you, I have a few healthy habits firmly ingrained- less or no sugar at all, low carb, low sodium- so it wasn't like I went crazy. But I did go crazy- on fats. 

I loooove fats. At parties where lechon is served, all I would have is a plateful of lechon-belly, just warm enough to feel the pork fat melt in my mouth like butter. 

My food diary for those eight weeks was filled with eggs (around half a dozen a week), bacon (every week), chicken wings and mayonnaise- mayo with chicken, mayo with eggs, mayo on white toast on days when I allowed myself to eat white bread (twice a month).

The thing with fats is that it's filling; I never feel hungry, hence, I never feel compelled to snack (to be fair, I haven't been a snacking sort of person). But obviously, having a predominance of fats in one's diet would have consequences even if you're physically active. I tried to google, 'do you burn all the fat that you eat' and it gave me a trove of conflicting answers. 

And that's the annoying thing about food and dieting- the obstacle is science itself- when it can't decide definitively if eggs are really bad for you or not. But worry less on what's on the outside and more what the state of your body is by the numbers. With an ideal (total) cholesterol level of less than 4.0 mmol/L (according to NZ health guidelines),  mine read 6.2. My current GP frowns at anything over the prescribed level as all doctors should I guess, but for me, it wasn't that bad- maybe I should've shown her my food diary. I was expecting it to be way, way higher.

So ditched the bacon for now and hoping for better numbers in the next couple of weeks when I do another blood-test.

Your liver typically produces approximately 75% of the cholesterol circulating in your blood - a diet high in saturated fat stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol. 

The remaining 25% of your cholesterol is derived from the food you eat. This dietary cholesterol is present in animal foods – mainly in dairy products, meat, egg yolks, offal and shellfish. It is not present in plant foods. 

For these reasons, the saturated fat and cholesterol content of the food you eat are likely to have a strong influence on your blood cholesterol levels.

Other factors that may influence your blood cholesterol levels include:

  • Genetic susceptibility to high cholesterol
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes and liver or thyroid disorders
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • High stress levels.

(via Southern Cross NZ)