Many people are unconcerned with future eyesight problems, since there are always contacts, glasses, medicine and corrective eye surgery to fall back on. …right?
Wrong. The diagnosis “low vision” refers to patients for whom every day tasks are difficult because of diminished eyesight, even with the use of corrective lenses or surgery. By 2030, an estimated five million people will have this condition, and since February is Low Vision Month, we’re highlighting a few facts about it that you may not know.
5 Things You May Not Know about Low Vision
1. Low vision results from age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, cataract, or burns/injuries. Common complaints are glare, darkness, and diminished ability to see low-contrast items, like greyscale words against a white background. Low vision is common, but not a natural occurrence like presbyopia.
2. Low vision effects more than your eyes. Since vision is the most relied upon of the five senses, diminished eyesight means loss of independence, and that can result in stress on your activities and relationships. The daily routine and responsibilities of life are already demanding, without the complication of low vision.
In a sort of double-jeopardy, people with low vision ironically tend to feel “unseen” or disregarded. Since most communication is nonverbal, they cannot pick up on all the subtle conversational nuances from the people they are talking with.
3. Early detection can give your doctor the chance to diagnose and treat and in some cases slow the progression of these diseases. Once low vision is diagnosed, however, focus is shifted to living with low vision, not restoring eyesight.
Your eye doctor may refer you to a low vision specialist, who can work with you on a plan for your future. He may customize a plan for your rehabilitation, although cannot guarantee restoration of eyesight.
4. Vision is not always lost completely, and the remaining vision you have can be enhanced with your doctor’s plan for vision rehabilitation. This will include training on how to use your other senses and to navigate daily activities independently, as well as an introduction to Low Vision Devices.
5. You’re not powerless. There’s a lot you can do today to prevent low vision in your future, and ease the discomfort of those already suffering with it.
- First, change one habit a week to support your ocular health. Whether it’s nutrition, exercise or safety measures, taking your eyesight seriously starts now, not when you notice something’s wrong.
- Volunteer. Statistically, you likely live near an elderly person with low vision who could use help getting around. If you’re running errands, phone her first to see if she needs to get out for business or pleasure. Low vision month is the perfect time to start this relationship, and may motivate you to take control of your own preventative measures.
- Get regular checkups. Your eye doctor loves nothing more than to catch a condition before it robs you of eyesight or your happy lifestyle.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If you have noticed any recent changes in your vision, even subtle, call your eye doctor without delay, because vision changes may be a symptom of a much more urgent medical condition that can cheat you of more than just vision.
But even if you’re not sure something’s amiss, it’s a good idea to get checked out. What better way is there to celebrate Low Vision Month?
For questions or comments, contact Woodhams Eye Clinic.
Image Source: Flickr