The term seems self-explanatory enough, but low vision is really a wide-sweeping condition that impacts millions of Americans, and at least 135 million people worldwide. People who have some extent of functional vision but have been informed by their doctors that their eyesight cannot be completely restored to top level even with normal prescription lenses, treatments, or surgery, have low vision.
This means that people affected by the malady may have trouble with normal daily routines — reading news, recipes, labels, and (dangerously) prescription labels — even with the aid of reading glasses, contacts, meds, or eye surgery of various types.
Obviously, age is a major factor in all vision-related issues. Macular degeneration that is caused by aging is the cause of nearly half of the low vision cases. Beyond this, the general population of 65 and older has an increased risk of diabetes and glaucoma, both connected to low vision susceptibility. The same holds true for African-Americans and Hispanics over the age of 45 — a very significant age difference in an alarming way for these groups.
When a person suffers from low vision, obviously there are the physical challenges and risks involved. Beyond this, the condition can impact people psychologically, making them more susceptible to depression and anxiety, as well as economic consequences in diminished earning capacity and increased costs related to daily living needs.
The encouraging news is that there is help in numerous forms. Low visions specialists can test people for the condition and offer patients customized health directives to increase their quality of life. There are vision rehabilitation enters and services that can do great things for those who suffer from low vision.
Magnifying reading glasses, customized aids to viewing a computer screen, telescopic glasses and monoculars for seeing faces and television from a distance, special sunglasses, and adaptive equipment for daily tasks are just some of the items and tools that can aid people living with low vision.
Of course, the Focus Glass by Winross is one example of adaptive equipment and it can serve two purposes: it’s a drinking glass with a magnifying lens in its base, ideal for when people have to double-check the small print on their prescriptions or to take a good look at a pill before ingesting it. Medical errors in homes across America are a serious issue for all people, and of course, people with low vision have to be even more vigilant. But it’s good to know that there is help for those who deal with this condition.