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low vision

Between one and two percent of Americans are affected by the condition low vision. Getting the diagnosis can be life-changing, and unfortunately, this is one of those conditions that even prescription glasses cannot completely correct, but it can become better with the right care. Alternative ways of navigating the world without full vision can be learned through rehabilitation and therapy. However, the hardest step is always the first one. Overcoming the emotional affects of living with low vision can often times be more difficult that the physical challenges of coping with it. The key to moving forward is to not focus on the negatives, but accept the change and challenges that come as they may.

Causes of Low Vision

Low vision is classified as a visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected by corrective aids, such as glasses or contacts, or through use of medication or surgery. There are many causes of low vision, including birth defects, injury and eye diseases. Eye diseases are the most common cause of low vision, however. Cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other ocular diseases can result in reduced vision ability. The majority of these diseases tend to be found in adults. It is important to note that the the instances where visual impairment is caused by disease have been reduced over the years. However, as a result of improved healthcare and people living longer then instances of age related visual impairment is slowly on the rise.

How to Live with Low Vision

Low vision often causes patients living with it to have reduced abilities to do many of the things they love that rely on healthy eyesight. However, there have been fantastic advancements in the field of improving the life quality of patients with low vision. Although patients may no longer be able to drive, video magnifiers, large-scale computer screens, specialized mirrors and oversized digital clocks can all help to improve a low vision patient’s life quality. By no means does a person have to give up on the things they love doing, they just have to find new or different ways of doing what they love. Taking small steps is often the best way to overcome the adversities of life; take small steps not giant leaps. As previously mentioned, it’s not just the physical adjustments that need to be overcome, it’s the emotional ones as well. Staying active, seeing a counselor, and sticking to a rehab regiment are great ways to keep from becoming depressed or feeling defeated.

See a Specialist

The best thing for dealing with low vision is to see a specialist. This person can fully evaluate your low vision to help determine the extent of your vision loss and what, if any, corrective devices or treatments might help to improve your life. A low vision specialist can also help you to acclimate yourself to the new technologies that are available to help you navigate the world with low vision. This can be a relief for older patients who are not accustomed to certain technologies, and it can also be a relief for family members and friends who want to help their loved one continue enjoying life to the fullest.

If you are living with low vision, take action today. Visit your local eye doctor, who can help you to best understand your condition and what you can do to make it better. Discuss solutions and methods that would work best for your lifestyle. It is important to find a rehab specialist that you can work with who can teach you ways to maintain your independence and freedom.

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