A diagnosis of vision loss causes shock, grief, anger and depression. These feelings may be temporary or last for years. Loss of vision means losing the ability to drive, which is the loss independence.
Over time, most people with vision loss become more confident about living with reduced sight. This confidence will increase if they participate in rehabilitation training. They will begin to trust their new skills and feel better about the future.
Causes of Vision Loss
Some decline in vision is common in most people as they age. The first signs are typically that it becomes more difficult to read small print or to get around in dim lighting. Some people find they can’t tell the difference between dark blue and black. These changes are a normal part of aging. However, other vision changes can be much more serious.
A stroke, traumatic brain injury or a brain tumor may cause vision loss or impairment at any age. his type of loss may be temporary or permanent.
Common Eye Conditions in People Over 50
Macular Degeneration–The most common cause of vision loss, this disease is characterized by vision loss in the center of the eye; blurred vision; straight lines looking wavy; needing more light to see. It can affect either one or both eyes.
Glaucoma–It is characterized by gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision; difficulty driving at night; loss of contrast. It is important to get treatment for early symptoms to prevent total blindness.
Cataracts–Causes clouding of the normally clears lens of the eye. Its symptoms are hazy vision difficulty driving at night; double vision; trouble distinguishing colors; sensitivity to glare. It typically develops gradually. Through surgery, cataracts can be removed and the lens of the eye replaced by a plastic lens.
Diabetic Retinopathy–Typically occurs in people with advanced diabetes and high blood sugar levels. It is caused by leaking blood vessels. Its symptoms are blurred or changing vision; difficulty reading; floaters that affect either central or peripheral vision. Estimates are that 25% of people with diabetes have some diabetic retinopathy, but few people develop severe vision problems. There are often no symptoms in the early stages, so people with advanced diabetes should have regular vision exams. The best prevention is maintaining stable blood sugar levels. A doctor should be seen immediately if a person has any acute or prolonged episodes like blurred vision, flashes of light, blind spots or any other symptom that affects vision.
For Eye Health-Check-Ups
The Academy now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40–the time when early signs of disease and changes in the vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist (specialist in eye diseases) will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.
For individuals at any age with symptoms or risk of eye disease, such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, the Academy recommends that individuals see their ophthalmologist to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.
Source: The Foundation of The American Academy of Ophthalmology
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