Your Center For Sight Team has you Covered
February is the month of love. It’s also Low Vision Awareness Month, making it the ideal time to show some love to one of your most important senses – your eyesight.
Learning about the causes and risk factors related to low vision and scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for yourself or a loved one is vital to the protection of your sight as you age. If you are someone who is invested in your health (and we hope you are!), then learning more about low vision is an essential component of good health and wellness.
What is Low Vision?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) defines low vision as vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses or contacts. That means someone with low vision can’t simply put on a pair of glasses or contacts and see well; this condition is beyond the typical loss of vision that occurs with aging.
People who experience low vision can struggle with maintaining their independence; hobbies, reading and even socializing can become challenging as vision loss progresses. Because of the impact low vision can have on your life, it’s important to have your eyes checked by a low vision specialist if you have any concerns.
Since it is rare to be able to restore vision once it is lost, screenings can help preserve the vision you have and help you access adaptive lenses and devices if you need them. While there is not a cure for low vision, your Center For Sight vision specialist can help you adapt and, if needed, create a vision rehabilitation program designed to meet your specific needs. An important first step is an annual comprehensive eye exam.
What Causes Low Vision?
Low vision can be caused by several different factors and conditions. And while age does play a role, it is not the only risk factor involved. Some common causes of low vision in seniors and adults of all ages include macular degeneration, glaucoma or eye injury. Diabetes can also lead to vision problems and result in low vision. Learning more about the conditions related to low vision can help you take proactive steps to protect your health and your eyesight.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the deterioration of the eye’s macula and is a disease associated with aging. AMD is also one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It affects your central vision and has a negative impact on everyday activities, such as driving, reading and recognizing faces. Millions of people are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration each year; a visit with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists is the right place to start if you are concerned about this condition.
Macular degeneration is irreversible, so patients who are at risk for age-related eye disorders need to be diligent about their eye care. If you are at risk for AMD, please contact us today. By identifying the early signs of macular degeneration, we can help prevent and treat this disease.
Another cause of low vision is glaucoma, which is a group of eye conditions that cause an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). Most cases of glaucoma are caused by your eye being unable to drain fluid effectively. As pressure builds within the eye, it can lead to complications, most commonly damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is dangerous because it damages the eye slowly and shows few to no symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage.
Glaucoma seems to be at least partially hereditary, but research is still ongoing into how your risk is affected by family history. Glaucoma within your family does not guarantee you will develop the condition, but it is an important risk factor you should discuss with your Center For Sight doctor.
Diabetic Eye Disease
A final cause of low vision in many adults is diabetes. Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can lead to vision loss. Regular visits to your Center For Sight eye doctor for exams are important to prevent and treat diabetes-related eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
When a person who has diabetes high blood sugar, it can cause the lens of the eye to swell, which changes the person’s vision quality. To prevent or slow the development of eye disease, the patient should receive proper eye care and work to control:
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
Having regular eye exams can help detect early warning signs and prevent permanent vision loss. Center for Sight offers the highest quality eye care for patients with diabetes.
Living with Low Vision
If low vision affects your life, you are not alone. Currently, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired. Of these, 3 million have low vision. There are many resources to help people with low vision enjoy a wide range of activities and hobbies. You can find several national resources here. Schedule an appointment with your Center For Sight team to learn more.