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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Low Vision Month

Many years ago it was unreal to see individuals living to be as old as they are. My mom has lived longer than most members of her family and yet she is still doing awesome. At 74 years old mom still lives alone, helps raise a grand-son and needs no real help. This is just a look into America as our population lives longer than they have before. Living longer also means that we will see health issues we may not have seen in the past as well. Low vision is one of these. 

Eye diseases and vision loss are becoming more of a public health concern. Low vision may be caused by a variety of diseases, disorders and injuries that affect the eye. Conditions like diabetes or brain injury are often causes for low vision. Age related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma are leading causes of low vision. There are currently 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older that are visually impaired. The estimate is that in 2030 when baby boomers reach age of 65 that number will reach 7.2 million with 5 million having low vision. 

What is considered low vision you may ask?? It is a vision impairment that can not be corrected by eye glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. Stay on top of your eye health by having regular dilated eye exams and be aware of any change in eyesight. By staying aware of your eye health you will know issues early enough where they may be treated.  Low vision impairs a persons life by making activities like reading, shopping, cooking, writing, and watching TV. Individuals often end up feeling anxious, helpless and depressed. 
There are some sight disorders that can be treated or restored to help maintain vision. Your eye specialist will know about these. If there is nothing that can be done there is vision rehab where healthcare providers as well as community professionals help individuals with low vision to learn to learn in their environment. Simple things like moving around the house are difficult for those with low vision and is something that must be learned. It is important for those with low vision to keep doing as much as they did before with consideration to reading, cooking and other activities they participated in. Health professionals are also responsible to find resources, adaptive devices and support. 

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