Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy: My Story

In 2012, I was diagnosed with Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy (Fuchs), an eye condition I had never heard of before in my life.  I’d like to share my story.

English: A human eye that received a cornea tr...

English: A human eye that received a cornea transplant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Fuchs’ dystrophy (fooks DIS-truh-fee) is an uncommon, slowly progressive disorder that affects the cornea — the transparent front surface of your eye. Fuchs’ dystrophy is a type of corneal dystrophy, a group of conditions that may cause a hazy deposit to build up over the cornea.”

My optometrist first recognized that I had Fuchs when I went to see him for cloudy eyes. To give you as description, it was as if my right eye was steamed over like a windshield. I thought it was eyestrain. I was wrong.

From there, the optometrist referred me to a corneal specialist who confirmed the diagnosis as Fuchs. He prescribed me with over-the-counter eye drops called Muro 128, which is basically sodium chloride. This helps dry out the cornea to slow down the leak, which causes the cloudiness.

After two weeks of using Muro 128 eye drops every hour on the hour, the specialist told me that the only cure would be a corneal transplant because there is no cure for Fuchs.

It would continually get worse, but it could take days, months or years. However, he would not do a transplant until I went totally blind. Wrong answer.

At that point, I did consider myself totally blind in the right eye unless I used the Muro eye drops every half hour during my waking hours. I also wear glasses, but the right eye prescription was totally wrong by this time.

So, after two months of carrying Muro 128 eye drops in a tiny pouch around my neck, constantly putting in eye drops, I decided it was time for another opinion.

I found a young, enthusiastic ophthalmologist named Dr. Albert Caruana at Cleveland Clinic Florida who specializes in corneal transplants. I say “young and enthusiastic” because as I get older, the doctors look like kids to me, but in my case, I was happy to find a doctor that was almost right out of medical school.

Dr. Caruana did the corneal transplant within a few months. It was a simple day surgery followed by check-up appointments after the first few weeks. I’ve followed his instructions to the letter.

I felt it was only a matter of time before I was able to get the corrected prescription for my eyeglasses and move on with my otherwise healthy life.

Unfortunately, five months after the surgery, I woke up one morning with no sight in my right eye. I couldn’t see color, only black outlines of people and total blur.

I rushed in to see Dr. Caruana and he informed me of the good news and bad news. The good news was that I have a very healthy immune system. For a 59-year-old woman, that’s always good news.

But the bad news was that my immune system was rejecting my new cornea. My question to him was, “Now what?”

It’s been two weeks since the rejection. I’m on medication and once again the Muro 128, but my sight has not returned yet. I may need to have another corneal transplant, but the doctor is hoping the meds will help.

While the corneal transplant has been more of an ordeal that I had ever expected, I don’t regret having the surgery. I work every day to maintain a positive attitude and have full trust in my doctor, which is essential when having this type of procedure.

If there’s a possibility that you may have Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, don’t wait. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist who specializes in corneal conditions.

Originally published on Empowher

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Confessions from a Couch Potato

So, I rolled out of bed this morning with the usual stiff neck, sore back, and an unexplained cramp in my lower intestine.

I looked in the mirror and saw an overweight, old woman with the pallor of an upstate New Yorker in mid-February staring back at me.

Then I said, “Hey, you live in South Florida, you work from home, and you have a beautiful pool across the street that’s highly unoccupied. What’s your problem??

Depression sneaks up on you. Sometimes you don’t recognize it. You think you’re just being lazy and it’s easier to just lie on the couch and watch TV.

But it’s that scared, yucky feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, the tight ball that won’t allow you out of your comfort zone. You know the feeling.

But, if you push yourself or ask somebody else to help push you, you can do it. You can get off that couch, get out of the house, and once you get out there, you feel good, like you’ve accomplished something.

Couch Potato

I’m 30 pounds overweight and mushy brain. And as you read above, I don’t have any excuses

So, I got my hiney over to the pool this morning and did 25 minutes of water AEROBIC exercise. Yay me!!

I feel like I can do anything now, even finish writing a novel that I put away in 2008.

Yep, I’m doing this thing. How are you doing today?


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Natural Anti-Aging Tips For Your Eyes

Cucumber eyesWhen a woman looks in the mirror and into her own eyes, she often sees her life passing before her. Years in the sun, late night worries about her children or her job, a divorce, an abnormal Pap smear, a parent’s memory loss, each woman can plug in her own scenario and see it in her own eyes.

Many women choose expensive products or cosmetic surgery to mask the signs of aging around the eyes. But surgery is a big step at an even bigger cost.

Why not take a holistic approach instead? Natural remedies are less expensive and much safer than some cosmetic procedures.

Next time you shop for anti-aging eye products, look for the natural ingredients.

To minimize bags:

Vitamin A (increases collagen)
Vitamins C and E (help block collagen-degrading enzymes and remove free radicals)
Yeast extract (limits free-radical damage and promote cell renewal)
Cucumber, oatmeal, persimmon, raw potato, or witch hazel (tighten skin)
Tea (reduces fluid)

Fast fix in the morning:

Place cucumber slices or chilled caffeinated tea bags on eyes for 15 minutes to tighten skin and absorb fluid.

For dark circles:

Vitamin K (found in green tea)
Vitamin A (boosts vitamin K)
Vitamin C grapeseed or rose hip extracts (strengthen/repair tissue)
Kojic acid (reduces dark skin pigmentation)

Fast fix in the morning:

Use a concealer that matches your natural complexion and/or plump up thin skin with a fast-absorbing oil.

For crow’s feet:

Evening primrose, jojoba, and sesame oils (hydrate skin)
Aloe (heals)
Vitamins A, C, and E (fight free radicals and sun damage)
Hyaluronic acid (boosts the absorption of vitamin C)
Chamomile, licorice, milk thistle, tea, or vitamin B (anti-inflammatory agents)

Fast fix in the morning:

Beat one egg white and apply along your cheekbone and outer eye area. Gently remove 10 minutes with cool water and washcloth.

For crinkly eyelids:

Almond, apricot kernel, castor, or grapeseed oils (add moisture)
Aloe, antioxidants, and vitamin C (promote healing)

Fast fix in the morning:

Apply a cream eye shadow, or apply a hydrating primer before powder shadow.

Take a holistic approach to anti-aging your eyes and not only will your eyes thank you, the planet will thank you too.




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Top 5 Dating Sites for Boomers and Beyond

old man and woman drinking in hotel 's barWhat’s the fastest growing group of online daters? If you’re thinking men in their 30s, think again. Bowling Green State University professors of gerontology, Dr. Wendy K. Watson and Dr. Charlie Stelle, have been researching the landscape and found that people over 60 represent the most rapidly growing demographic in online dating.

The study authors also delved into the question of which features make a dating site a good fit for seniors. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all, but their number one criteron make sense to us: an emphasis in profile questions on mutual interests and honest self-representation over looks and sexual prowess. You can read an article about the ongoing study by clicking here.

With Watson and Stelle’s study in mind, we’ve tested several popular dating sites, looking also for easy online experiences, and come up with five – both free and fee-based, senior-specific and all-ages – that we deem senior-friendly. Take a look and see which is a good fit for you.  


  • Why it’s senior friendly Match.com profiles provide plenty of opportunity for you to explore your potential mate’s education, faith, politics and other choices that you might find important. And this dating site can’t be beat on sheer volume: It boasts a membership of over 17 million, 2.5 million of whom are seniors. The odds are with you.
  • What makes it easy The site lets you breeze through the profile creation process by checking off the basics first. You can save the paragraph sections for later, if and when you feel like further expounding on your life story and getting into the nitty gritty of the type of partner you’re looking for. The site also offers online guidance.
  • Downside: Browsing is allowed for free, but you can’t make any actual connections without joining a paid plan.
  • Price per month for 6 months $19.99 including Match.com Mobile, Matchtalk for narrowing your search by using keywords, and Stir events – offline groups that gather locally for happy hours, cooking classes, etc. What a great way to mix it up with other singles. If you can’t find a Stir event that’s right for you, you can organize one of your own.

Click here to visit Match.com


  • Why it’s senior friendly: eHarmony is dedicated to helping seniors find long-term relationships. With over 20 million registered users, the key difference between eHarmony and traditional senior dating sites is the intricate Compatibility Matching System, which narrows the field from thousands of senior singles and claims to find the most compatible matches based on your profile.
  • What makes it easy: Answering 258 multiple-choice questions based on psychology tests may not sound easy, but once it’s done eHarmony does the rest. Members aren’t allowed to search. You simply sit back and wait for the experts to send you matches by email.
  • Downside eHarmony totally controls your dating choices. It’s not for everybody. Plus, because the site has a Christian ideology, it does not entertain same-sex matches; those are relegated to a new separate service run by eHarmony, called Compatible Partners. The site also will not admit members who are legally separated but not divorced.
  • Price per month for 6 months: $23.95 pays for eHarmony experts to decipher your perfect match based on your answers and their methodology. Mobile access and Facebook connection are available, but don’t offer on-the-ground events.

Click here to visit eHarmony’s Senior Search


AARP Dating Powered by How About We…

  • Why it’s senior friendly Howaboutwe.com has recently partnered with AARP for a version targeted specifically to the 50-plus population – which is no surprise to us, since we had HowAboutWe pegged as the most senior-friendly online dating method. How About We and its AARP version are built around proposed dates: You can propose a date or scan dates that potential partners have proposed. These range from the generic (coffee somewhere quiet where we can chat) to the specific (a bike ride to the Met to see the Matisse show, or I’ve got Knicks tickets for Friday night. Want to join me?). Either way, it’s simple to “read” someone by the type of activity they want to share and find a good fit that way.
  • What makes it easy The site has a fun, laid-back feel that’s easy to maneuver. You can post a date for free without the muss and fuss of completing a daunting profile, and if you use the “Play” function while you’re browsing, you have a quick and easy way to sort the ‘This one looks nice’ from the ‘No way in Hellers.’ You’ll get a daily email from site with potential dates based on your preferences (age, political and religious leanings, etc). Social networking connections are also available. If you like the idea of a live meeting without spending hours online, AARP Dating is a great option.
  • Downside AARP Dating promotes face-to-face meetings, so it’s not a good choice for those who’d rather learn more about the person before going on a date.
  • Price per month for 6 months An affordable $12; AARP members get a 7-day free trial and 50 percent off membership.

Click here to visit AARP Dating


  • Why it’s senior friendly 1.4 million hip, mature seniors visit Ourtime each month. It’s one of the most popular dating sites catering to the over 50 set. The personality section is a great feature if you’re looking for more than a one-night stand. And the profile questions range from ‘Do you like to cook?’ to ‘Are you a punctual person?’ – traits that most younger users don’t really consider important, but many seniors do.
  • What makes it easy The profile is a straightforward mix of multiple-choice questions and paragraphs, without much glitz or glamour.
  • Downside Online dating veterans may miss the extra features that other sites offer.
  • Price per month for 6 months Browsing is allowed before joining the plan for a modest $12.99 per month for 6 months, but you’ll need to answer some basic questions before delving into a full-fledged search. Online chat is available, but no Facebook or mobile connections, yet.

 Click here to visit OurTime


  • Why it’s senior friendly With over 3.5 million active users, OkCupid offers a plethora of unique visitors, seniors included. Some of the questions are geared toward the younger set, but seniors get around it by answering the mature questions about what you do on Friday night, the types of books and movies you like, and (a biggie for those who are set in their ways), ‘What six things could I never do without.’
  • What makes it easy The profile is primarily Q&A based. Many of the questions are a bit bizarre, but easy to skip over. Don’t let the profile creation process discourage you from taking advantage of the gratis membership account.
  • Downside: It’s fun and easy, but you get what you pay for. Enough said.
  • Price per month for 6 months: FREE – unless you find ads distracting. If you’d prefer fewer flashing banner ads, and more access to information on who visited your profile, go ahead and upgrade to A-List status for a monthly fee of $14.95. Connecting with Facebook and Twitter is a free option.

Click here to visit OKCupid

Note Be aware when signing up for auto-payment on any online dating site: Complaints have been filed that certain sites continue to charge monthly fees after a member cancels. Keep an eye on your bank statement.

Thinking of trying online dating? Check out two more Senior Planet articles:
How to set up your online dating profile in 4 easy steps
11 ways to quit lurking and write your online dating profile

Do you have a favorite dating site? By sharing it in the comments section below you’ll help out some other seniors.

 (Original article published on Senior Planet)

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6 Tasty Foods That Flatten Your Belly

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...


Nobody likes belly fat, that’s for sure. And certain exercises can help whittle that problem area down to size. But, it’s also important to eat the right foods to help flatten your tummy as well.

In fact, researchers at the American Heart Association have found that people who lose belly fat improve the function of their blood vessels, which is key in helping the heart work better.

If you’re thinking you have to sacrifice the good stuff for bland salads and plain veggies, you’d be wrong.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate lovers are delighted to hear that chocolate is really good for you! But, here’s the great news — it helps burn belly fat. Chocolate is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and flavonoid antioxidants that keep blood platelets from sticking together. It needs to be at least 70 percent dark chocolate to reap the rewards. Yum.


Years ago, eggs had a rep for being bad for cholesterol, but studies now say eating two eggs for breakfast is a great way to fight belly fat. Eggs are also high in protein and stave off hunger pangs better than cereal or a high-carb bagel.


According to a study by McMaster University in Canada, “Increasing your dairy intake in combination with exercise will help you lose more abdominal fat.” It’s also a great calcium source, so drink up.


This fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for your health, but who knew salmon also helps in fighting belly fat. Fatty fish — lean protein — is it an oxymoron? Maybe, but try it anyway.


Here’s a great nibble that contains 10 grams of MUFAs which deters blood sugar spikes from telling your body to store fat to your belly. But, be careful not to eat more than ¼ cup a day. Avocados are very high in calories.

Peanut Butter

Just one serving of peanut butter has 2 g of fiber and 8 g of protein, and once again, those belly fat-busting MUFAs.

See what I mean? No need to force down boring salads every day to achieve a flat belly. Enjoy your favorites along with lots of water, and watch your belly shrink. It’s true.

Click here for an article in Fitness Magazine for more tasty foods to help rid that flabby belly.


Original article published at Empowher.


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15 Tips from an Out of Touch Traveler

oldfashionedtravelerWe just returned from a trip to Colorado and it was gorgeous!

That being said, I feel obliged to share the experience from an out of touch traveler who’s still feeling the pain.

You know you’re an out of touch traveler when –

  1. you think it’s easier and cheaper to park at the airport instead of calling a cab because schlepping bags, one of which has a ‘funny’ wheel, in 98% humidity, to the terminal saves so much money. (Tip: Don’t listen to hubby. Go with your gut.)
  2. you bring old, mismatched luggage that tips over every time you let go of the handle and wonder why nobody else is having that problem. (Tip: Check out luggage.com to see what you’ve been missing while you’ve been on the couch watching tv.)
  3. you think you’re lucky because you’re on a non-stop, South West flight to Denver, but realize there’s 300 other lucky passengers, too, and end up in the middle because 6’ 2” hubby needs an aisle seat. And another sweaty passenger with wide girth sits very comfortably in the window seat. (Tip: Sit in the window seat. Don’t be so nice.) 
  4. you think you’ll be able to catch up on reading only to have a crying baby in the back, a loud talker in the front, and a 7 year old across from you who needs to prefix every one of his 700 questions with, “Mommeee? Mommeee? Mommeee??” (Tip: earplugs, earbuds, headphones, duh!)
  5. you arrive at Denver airport and think you’re flight is over. (Tip: Mark your luggage well. Nuff said.)
  6. you use your iPhone GPS to find the hotel, but hubby insists it’s not working right, so you drive around for an hour only to find out it is working right. (Tip: Stay quiet. After all, hubby knows everything, right?)
  7. you finally arrive at your room and wonder whether the migraine came from high altitude or riding around in the car with hubby for an extra hour. ‘Hello Colorado; Goodnight, Nurse.’ (Tip: Always bring extra migraine meds)
  8. you have a wonderful meal at a vegetation restaurant, but still wake up at 3 in the morning with either food poisoning or a stomach virus while hubby sleeps peacefully. (Tip: Keep anti-bacterical wipes and extra underwear with you at all times.)
  9. you drive up a Colorado mountain and discover neither of you feels like hiking and might not likes heights all that much. (Tip: Always check your energy-level after a stomach bug.)
  10. you walk around downtown Fort Collins and see that everybody else looks like a hiker, a bicycler, or the fitness geek from Hell, and you have a blister forming on your heal. (Tip: Bring comfortable shoes that you didn’t just buy the week before.)
  11. you sample a couple of beers at the local brewery thinking it might calm your icky stomach. It doesn’t. (Tip: Go with your gut and your brain on this one.)
  12. after 4 days of driving around, shopping, site seeing, and eating at local restaurants, you realize you and hubby have absolutely nothing in common. (Tip: Remember why you fell in love in the first place.)
  13. you’re back at the airport and go through airport security only to discover that sparkly tops invite trouble when you step into the screening booth. (Tip:Plain tops. Always.)
  14. the best laugh of the trip was when a female TSA feels you up and you both agreed that it’s the best action you’ve had in months! (Tip: TSAs are people, too.)
  15. When you’re back at your home airport, schlepped your bags back to your car in 98% humidity and discover that hubby can’t find his parking ticket. Second best laugh of the trip. (Tip: Never laugh when hubby is almost crying.)

The moral of the story, don’t travel again unless you can find a time machine that zooms you back to when life was easier.


Learn from your mistakes.




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