What is low vision, and how can it be corrected?
Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be addressed with normal glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. Individuals with low eyesight can see, but not well enough to accomplish daily tasks like reading, writing, or driving.
Several age-related conditions, like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, as well as other eye diseases, can result in impaired vision. It could also be the result of an eye or brain injury.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help people with limited vision stay independent. This can also help improve their quality of life. Following are some common approaches for correcting poor vision:
Optical Devices and Non-optical Devices
By magnifying visuals, optical devices such as magnifying glasses can aid improve eyesight.
On the other hand, Non-optical devices can help people with limited vision. Examples include large print books, high-contrast labels or Braille keyboards. These devices can help people with reading, writing, navigating websites, and performing other tasks.
Assistive technology can help people with low vision use computers and other digital devices by providing tools and features that can be used to enhance or substitute for vision.
Examples of this equipment include screen readers, which convert text to audio and allow users to navigate websites and other digital content; magnifiers, which enlarge the size of text and images on a computer screen; and speech recognition software, which allows the user to control their computer with voice commands.
Vision rehabilitation is a comprehensive program. Its purpose is to help people with reduced vision. This program teaches new skills and improves the quality of life. Rehabilitation programs may involve occupational therapy, orientation and mobility training, and counselling.
It is vital to understand that there is no single solution for low vision. The right treatment will be determined by the individual’s exact condition and needs. It is also critical to seek the assistance of a trained eye care practitioner or low-vision specialist who can assist you in developing an appropriate treatment plan.
Ways to Save Your Vision for seniors
It is essential for elders to keep healthy vision in order to continue living independently and enjoying their everyday activities. Here are several methods for preserving eye vision.
1. Have regular eye exams
Many eye disorders have no early symptoms, seniors must undergo regular eye exams to detect eye problems and diseases.
Seniors should have their eyes evaluated at least once a year, according to the National Institute on Aging. An eye care specialist can check for eye disorders including cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other eye problems like refractive errors, during an eye exam.
2. Use sunglasses that block UV rays
Wearing sunglasses that filter out UV radiation can be beneficial to your eyes by reducing the chances of developing cataracts and other eye conditions caused by sun exposure.
While going outside, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Wearing a hat with a wide brim can also help minimise the quantity of UV radiation that enters your eyes.
3. Keep a healthy lifestyle
A healthy diet and lifestyle can aid in the promotion of eye health. To help lower the incidence of AMD and other eye disorders, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends consuming a balanced diet.
Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. Frequent physical activity can also help minimise the risk of AMD. Smoking increases the risk for AMD and other eye illnesses, thus it should be avoided.
4. Treat chronic illnesses
Seniors with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension should consult with their healthcare professionals to better manage their symptoms and lower their risk of vision loss.
Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, resulting in diabetic retinopathy, whereas hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eye, resulting in hypertensive retinopathy. Checking with healthcare practitioners to address these diseases can help lower the chance of visual loss.
5. Maintain good eye hygiene
Seniors should maintain good eye cleanliness to avoid eye infections, which can result in vision loss.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests cleaning your hands frequently, not touching your eyes, and not sharing eye cosmetics or contact lenses with others.
What is the reason for suddenly reducing eye vision?
Astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia
Astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia are all typical reasons of unexpected hazy vision. These problems are caused by a defect with the eye’s ability to correctly focus light, resulting in difficulty seeing clearly.
- Astigmatism is a common eye disorder that causes blurred or distorted vision that affects how light enters the eye.
- Myopia commonly known as nearsightedness, is a vision disorder in which distant objects appear blurry but adjacent items appear clear. When the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, light focuses in front of the retina rather than on it.
- Hyperopia/ Farsightedness is an eye disorder in which distant objects appear clearer than nearby sights. When the eyeball is excessively short, light focuses behind the retina rather than on it. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery can all be used to address hyperopia.
Another common cause of rapid loss of eyesight is eye infections. Infections such as keratitis, conjunctivitis, and uveitis can cause eye irritation, redness, and discharge, resulting in clouded vision.
- Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, the transparent, dome-shaped tissue that covers the front of the eye. It is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites and causes symptoms such as eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.
- Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the white area of the eye as well as the inside of the eyelids. It is caused by viruses, germs, allergies, or irritants and can produce redness, irritation, discharge, and blurred vision.
- Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the eye’s central layer that includes blood vessels that nourish the retina. It can be caused by infections, autoimmune illnesses, or other conditions, and symptoms include eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.
Cataracts and Glaucoma
Vision loss can be caused by cataracts and glaucoma, and abrupt blurred vision can be an indication of acute angle-closure glaucoma, a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment.
- Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that impairs vision. It is caused by ageing, injury, or certain medical disorders, and symptoms include blurred vision, impaired night vision, and increased sensitivity to glare.
- Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. It is frequently caused by excessive high pressure and can produce symptoms such as blurred vision, eye pain, and peripheral vision loss.
Migraines and stroke
Migraines are another possible cause of sudden vision loss. Migraines can induce visual disturbances such as blurred vision, as well as nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Stroke can also cause damage to the blood arteries that supply the eye, resulting in temporary visual loss or blurred vision.
- Migraines are a kind of headache that can induce strong throbbing pain, nausea, and light and sound sensitivity. They can also induce visual disruptions like flashing lights, blind patches, or impaired vision, which might be misinterpreted as a stroke.
- Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted by a clot or a haemorrhage. Symptoms include sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, trouble speaking or understanding speech, and vision issues.
In summary, Seniors must take an active role in maintaining their eye health and getting professional care when needed. If you are a senior and have concerns about your vision or eye health, make an appointment with an eye care expert.