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February 4, 2022

Low Vision Awareness Month

Keep your eyecare in focus

Millions of Americans are affected by something called “low vision”. That basically means any condition that causes sight impairment. 

Despite the high numbers of people struggling with some form of vision loss, a Harris Poll found that as few as 13% of us seek eyecare. The hope throughout this month is to raise awareness of low vision and inspire people to have their eyes examined.  

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), typical forms of low vision are:

  • Central vision loss–not being able to see things in the center of your vision
  • Peripheral vision loss–not being able to see things out of the corners of your eyes
  • Night blindness–not being able to see in low light
  • Blurry or hazy vision

The most common causes are: 

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma (see our previous blog post: Glaucoma: The unseen threat)

The good news is that the tests are simple and painless–a dilated eye exam, as well as eye chart tests. The not-so-good news is that in most cases vision loss is irreversible. The key at this point is determining what is causing the vision loss and preserving the eyesight remaining. 

Treatment

It will depend on the underlying cause of vision loss. For example, glaucoma can be treated with surgery. An ophthalmologist can determine which treatment would be beneficial to protecting and preserving your sight.

Coping with vision loss

For minor vision loss the NEI recommends things like using brighter lights, wearing anti-glare sunglasses or having a magnifying lens handy for reading or other up-close tasks. 

For more advanced vision loss, the organization recommends seeing a specialist who can provide training for using a magnifying device, guidance for better ways of configuring your home and steer you to helpful resources for dealing with vision loss. 

Note to self: Make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist! As with nearly any health condition, catching it early makes all the difference.



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