Most of us take our vision for granted. But just take a second and imagine what your world would be like if you couldn’t see. No more reading nor watching movies, and even worse, no more focusing on the faces of the people you love.
Low vision is a term used when a person’s visual impairment cannot be corrected by contact lenses, glasses, medication, or surgery. Over 4.2 million Americans aged 40 and over are visually impaired, and that number is increasing year on year and predicted to reach 7.2 million by 2030.
Some of the most common causes of low vision in middle-aged and older people include age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, cataracts, and glaucoma. Early warning signs include difficulty recognizing faces or getting around the neighborhood, a blurred area near the center of your vision, or trouble selecting and matching the color of clothes.
The sooner vision loss or eye disease is detected, the greater the chances of keeping your remaining vision, so ensure you go for an eye examination every one to two years, depending on what other medical conditions you may have. Even if your eye care professional says that “nothing more can be done for your vision”, do not lose hope, because there are vision rehabilitation programs that can help you to remain independent and enjoy an active life.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) Low Vision Education program provides free support and advice to people with deteriorating vision. Some other low vision services may also be funded by Medicare but need to be ordered by a doctor.
Knowing that you are losing your vision can be troubling, but help is available through NEHEP.
For more information about Common Vision Problems Associated with Aging, see here.