Millions of people in the United States are living with a visual impairment—a topic that often hits close to home for seniors and their devoted caregivers.  Throughout this short article we hope to touch on the intricacies of low vision, exploring its nuances and causes, as well as highlight the supportive hand of organizations like Gary and Mary West PACE in navigating the challenges that low vision inherently poses.

Understanding Low Vision

So, what’s the deal with low vision? It’s like a little glitch in our vision that regular glasses can’t quite fix. Imagine your daily activities—reading, driving, or recognizing faces—turning into a bit of a puzzle. Picture low vision like a family of challenges. There’s central vision loss, where the center becomes a bit shy. Peripheral vision loss is like the corners playing hide and seek, while night blindness turns low-light situations into mysteries. And don’t forget our old pal, blurry or hazy vision—life’s way of keeping us on our toes.

The ‘why’ behind low vision often points to common eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma. And yes, it tends to pay a visit as we collect more birthdays, but aging alone isn’t the troublemaker here.  It can also result from eye and brain injuries or certain genetic disorders.

Diagnosis of Low Vision

A simple and painless dilated eye exam is conducted by an eye doctor to check for low vision. This includes reading letters at different distances and assessing both central and peripheral vision. Eye drops are used to dilate the pupils, enabling the doctor to identify potential eye problems contributing to low vision.

Unfortunately, low vision is often permanent. While eyeglasses, medicine, and surgery can’t cure it, they may sometimes improve vision or ease daily activities. Treatment options depend on the specific eye condition causing low vision. Consult your doctor to explore potential treatments or strategies to protect your remaining vision. For some with minor vision loss, strategic adjustments prove beneficial. Incorporating brighter lighting, utilizing anti-glare sunglasses, and employing magnifying lenses for close activities contribute to optimizing the remaining vision. In instances where daily activities are significantly impacted, the pursuit of vision rehabilitation may be recommended.

No Magic Fix, But Helpful Hands

Living with low vision might toss a few challenges your way, however our team at Gary and Mary West PACE can be your go-to team for navigating vision loss as well as all things health related.  At  West PACE, participants may be able to explore options such as vision rehabilitation alongside our occupational therapy team in addition to receiving tips to guide you using a magnifying device, making modifications in your home for a safer living environment, assistive technology  and even supportive counseling to adjust to lifestyle changes.

If you or someone you know is navigating the world of low vision, explore what’s out there, and consider reaching out to our team at Gary and Mary West PACE (760) 280-2230 to lend a helping hand.

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