What is Low Vision: Identifying Low Vision Problems
Low Vision is defined as reduced vision that cannot be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. This might mean a reduction of visual clarity, or how well a person sees, or a reduction of the visual field, or side vision. While low vision can happen at any age, it is a prevalent problem among seniors. According to the American Family Physician, one in three adults over the age of 65 has some sort of sight-threatening condition.
If you’re a caregiver, here are a few tips for caring for your loved one’s vision:
Make Eye Care a Priority
Annual eye exams are the key to early detection, and prevention, of sight-threatening conditions in older adults. Once a condition is noticed, it can be treated by your eye doctor or referred to a specialist. Eye exams can also function as a good indicator for blood pressure and diabetes control because both conditions will manifest in the eye when controlled poorly.
Watch for Signs of Visual Changes
Visual change can be gradual and may not always be reported- especially if someone is dealing with multiple health conditions. Here are a few signs of decreased vision that caregivers should know:
- Bumping into things
- Losing interest in vision-based activities like reading or watching television
- Not making eye contact or misnaming objects far away
- Missing objects when reaching for them
- Hesitancy walking
If you notice any of the above, an eye exam may be in order. If you’re worried about these signs, you can also enlist the care of a qualified home health care aide to keep a lookout.
Consider Low Vision Rehabilitation
If your senior already has significant irreversible vision loss, low vision rehabilitation offers several solutions to help them enjoy their favorite activities. Low Vision Rehabilitation may include:
- Finding the right type of lighting for maximum visual optimization
- Relearning how to walk safely with, or without, a white cane
- Training on smart devices and apps that are designed to help the visually challenged.
- Special lenses, magnifiers, and telescopes to optimize existing vision.
- Solutions that will allow your loved one to engage in favorite activities despite limited vision