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Low Vision & Its Effect on Seniors & the Elderly

What Is Low Vision?

We know that as we age, things don’t always work the way that they used to. But as caregivers for elderly parents and aging loved ones, it is very important to stay aware of any changes we see happening in the lives of those under our care.

One of the changes that may have a very profound impact in the daily life of your elderly loved on is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). According to the Macular Degeneration Partnership, AMD can be described as:

“A progressive eye condition that affects as many as 15 million Americans and millions more around the world. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.”

Some of the causes of AMD are:

• Macular degeneration
• Diabetes
• Glaucoma
• Retinitis pigmentosa and congenital
• Neurologic

AMD can affect senior members of the family in a variety of ways, turning the most basic tasks of daily living into an Vision 20 reviews exercise. Some of the ways low vision may affect your elderly loved ones include (but are not limited to) the following:

• Impact on Daily Living Activities:
These daily tasks include activities like bathing, moving about within the home, eating, dressing, grooming, etc. The attempt to fulfill these daily activities can put your senior family member in precarious situations that may not have been considered risky prior to the loss of vision.

• Impact on Driving:
Understanding the combination of skills that are needed to drive a vehicle, we can understand how impaired vision can cause many complications. If adequate lighting is not available, this can put your elderly loved one as well as other drivers in danger, especially at night.

• Impact on Social Life:
Low vision affects the social activities of elderly persons in a number of ways. Psychologically, low vision limits senior citizens because they are often afraid to leave their homes. Studies have shown that low vision adults have a much harder time moving about in unfamiliar places than in their more familiar homes.

How Can Low Vision Be Treated?

AMD is a bilateral impairment to vision that significantly impairs the functioning of the patient and cannot be adequately corrected with medical, surgical, therapy, conventional eye-wear or contact lenses. It is often a loss of sharpness or acuity but may present as a loss of field of vision, light sensitivity, distorted vision or loss of contrast.

Low Vision Rehabilitation Services do not cure the cause of the vision problem but rather utilize the remaining vision to its fullest potential. Low Vision rehabilitation programs offer a wide range of services, such as low vision evaluations and special training to use visual and adaptive devices. They also offer guidance for making changes in your home as well as group support from others with low vision.

If your elderly loved one is experiencing vision loss that may be due to Age Related Macular Degeneration contact a Vision Rehabilitation Program to find out how they can help your senior family member utilize their remaining vision in the most optimal way possible. It’s also good to keep in mind that depending on your elder’s situation, Low Vision Therapy may be included in their Medicare Home Health Benefit.

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