February is Low Vision Awareness Month
Did you know that February is known as low vision awareness month? Unfortunately, millions of people across the country are affected by low vision, which can make it difficult to do common daily tasks such as reading the newspaper or preparing a good meal. Approximately four million Americans over the age of forty are considered visually impaired. Within this group, three million have low vision.
By the year 2030, the total amount of people with low vision is projected to reach around five million. Low vision especially impacts older adults who are more dependent on supportive devices for their eyes such as glasses, contact lenses, prescription medicine, and other medical procedures. People with diabetes can become more at risk for developing low vision when they have elevated glucose levels for long periods of time.
Visiting Your Eye Doctor
Thankfully, there are ways to rehabilitate people that have low vision problems. As a first step, making sure to get a complete eye exam every year is important. Doing so boosts the likelihood of catching vision problems early on and makes it more likely to apply effective treatment.
By conducting a low vision examination, doctors can help diagnose conditions that could lead to future vision loss. Ophthalmologists and optometrists can also help create customized strategies that help individuals improve their quality of life when it comes to managing their vision concerns.
Low Vision Examinations
When your doctor is conducting a low vision examination, they will look thoroughly into your well-being and lifestyle. For example, they may start the examination by analyzing your medical history and eye health from the past. They will likely ask you what kinds of activities you partake in on a regular basis that would require good vision to successfully complete.
In conducting this lengthy examination, your doctor will attempt to understand your current vision capabilities and limitations. They will also look into and prescribe some therapies that would work to help problems associated with low vision. It is important to advise family members and caregivers of potential vision problems so they are aware of any limitations within that person’s life.
Common Causes of Low Vision
One of the biggest causes of low vision in adults is simply the aging process. In fact, older adults are at the highest risk level for having low or impaired vision. There are also other common causes for low vision, which include:
- Diabetic Retinopathy: For diabetics suffering from eye problems, damaged blood vessels in the eye are usually the reason why. High glucose levels in the blood can lead to damage in the retinal area of the eye and contribute to low vision problems.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma occurs when there is lots of internal pressure in the eye due to a blockage of fluid. This can lead to a damaged optic nerve and harm an individual’s vision. Thankfully, glaucoma can be treated if caught early on.
- Cataracts: Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye begins to get cloudy. This can cause blurry vision and light sensitivity, amongst other eye problems. Cataracts are more likely to occur in older adults or those that had an eye injury. Thankfully, it is possible to remove cataracts surgically and improve a person’s vision.
- Macular Degeneration: When the retina of the eye becomes damaged, many people can start to develop low vision problems. It is a common condition amongst older adults and is often linked to cases of blindness.
In conclusion, low vision problems are a concern for millions of Americans. In fact, the amount of people with low vision is only expected to grow in the near future. Thankfully, the vast majority of low vision cases can be prevented.
This can be done by scheduling annual eye exams that can help diagnose and treat eye conditions before they become serious and damaging. By getting care and treatment early and on time, millions of people can delay or even prevent loss of vision.