Each day, approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65, and one in six adults this age and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
An estimated 2.9 million Americans have low vision, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to accomplish activities such as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car or recognizing faces. Low vision can be caused by eye diseases that are more common in older people, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Fortunately, there are many strategies and resources available to people with low vision that can help them overcome these challenges:
- See an ophthalmologist.Those with low vision can improve their quality of life through low vision rehabilitation, which teaches people how to use their remaining sight more effectively.
- Make things bigger.Sit closer to the television. Get large books, phone dials and playing cards. Carry magnifiers for help with menus, prescription bottles and price tags.
- Make things brighter.Make sure areas are well-lit and cover shiny surfaces to reduce glare.
- Use technology.Many of today’s newer technologies have applications that can help with low vision. For example, e-readers allow users to adjust the font size and contrast.
- Organize and label.Designate spots for your keys, wallet and frequently used items in your refrigerator.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Keep your social group, volunteer job, or golf game.
- Consider low vision rehabilitation. If you have low vision, you can greatly improve your quality of life through vision rehabilitation.