Roseanne Barr may still be able to make us laugh, but the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedian recently disclosed that her eyesight is starting to fail. It’s difficult to think of Roseanne without recalling her popular, albeit obnoxious, sitcom of the late 80s. And who could forget her butchering of “The Star Spangled Banner” before a San Diego Padres home game in 1990? Yes, Roseanne has had her moments, but somehow she has the ability make us laugh because she is one of the few people in the world who can just put it all out there and deal with the fallout.
Sadly, Roseanne is having to deal with some fallout that has nothing to do with inappropriate jokes, crude humor or desecration of national anthems. She has one of the most unfortunate combinations of degenerative eye disorders—glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Glaucoma causes an increase in intraocular (inner-eye) pressure that damages the optic nerve and deteriorates peripheral vision. Macular degeneration breaks down the retina, which assists in clarity of central vision. So, Roseanne is losing both peripheral vision and central vision at the same time. Not surprisingly, she can joke about this information, saying, “My vision is closing in now. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible. Y’know, living it up.”
While vision loss is hardly funny, Roseanne certainly gives credence to the old saying that laughter is the best medicine. She is not alone in her struggle to preserve her vision. Glaucoma and macular degeneration are both leading causes of vision loss in the United States. These two diseases, along with many other eye conditions, often have no symptoms in the early stages. They can be painless and develop slowly over the years, and often a comprehensive eye exam is the only way diagnose these diseases.
Although there is a genetic factor for many vision disorders, macular degeneration and glaucoma can affect anyone, especially after the age of 60 when the risk for both diseases increases. African Americans are at elevated risk for glaucoma after the age of 40. Unlike waiting to visit your doctor until you have symptoms of sickness, you should never put off a comprehensive eye exam until you have symptoms. Vision loss usually means a condition has progressed to an advanced level, and often loss of sight cannot be reversed (Source: Health).
Comprehensive eye exams should be scheduled every 1 to 2 years, or according to your eye care professional’s recommendation. If you would like assistance finding a qualified eye doctor in your area, please use our physician locator tool and schedule a comprehensive eye exam to help prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma.