Low Vision Awareness Month is a great time to focus on your senior's eyes and how well she can see. Low vision itself is a condition in which your aging family member may have corrective lenses, medication, or even past surgeries, but she still can't see well. Here's what you need to know about low vision.
It's Really Common
According to the National Eye Institute, over 135 million people worldwide experience low vision. This can easily mean that even if your senior isn't experiencing the effects of low vision now, she may well experience them in the future. Regular eye exams can help you and your aging family member to stay on top of how her vision is progressing. Make sure that you mention any changes in her vision to her eye doctor so that those changes can get checked out.
There Are Multiple Causes
Low vision isn't caused by just one illness or situation, unfortunately. People with diabetes, glaucoma, and other health problems can develop low vision. People who had injuries to their eyes during their lifetime may also experience low vision. Because there's no solid test for who will develop low vision and who won't, it's not always a simple problem to predict. That's why regular eye exams are so very important.
It's More than Just One Symptom
People with low vision may find that they have difficulty with certain tasks, even when using their glasses. Reading, matching colors, or even recognizing faces can be difficult. Your aging family member may complain that it's never bright enough for her to see well, even if there are plenty of lights on. Everyone has a slightly different experience with low vision and that might mean that you and your senior have to get creative about finding solutions that work for her.
Your Senior Has Options
Depending on the severity of your senior's issues with low vision, she has plenty of options. Some people find that having home care providers available to handle situations that require better vision. This gives your senior some independence still while also having someone to lean on. Your elderly family member might also benefit from vision rehabilitation, which can teach her how to cope with lower vision.
Your elderly family member can still live a very normal life with low vision. Finding the right tools and resources is the biggest step that you can take to give her the independence that she needs and wants.