As people in the United States live longer, eye diseases and vision loss have become a serious public health concern.
According to the National Eye Institutes, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are currently vision impaired. By 2030, when the last of the baby boomers turn 65, that number is expected to reach 7.2 million, with five million people having low vision.
Low vision refers to impaired vision that cannot be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery. The World Health Organization uses the following classifications of visual impairment:
- 20/30 to 20/60, this is considered mild vision loss, or near-normal vision.
- 20/70 to 20/160, this is considered moderate visual impairment, or moderate low vision.
- 20/200 to 20/400, this is considered severe visual impairment, or severe low vision.
- 20/500 to 20/1,000, this is considered profound visual impairment, or profound low vision.
- Less than 20/1,000, this is considered near-total visual impairment, or near-total blindness.
- No light perception, this is considered total visual impairment, or total blindness.
Low vision can make every day activities like reading, shopping, cooking, writing and watching TV difficult. For some, low vision leads to feelings of helplessness, anxiety and depression.
Low vision is often the result of an eye disease, condition or injury. Some of the more common causes of low vision include:
- Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Retinal Detachment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Because low vision cannot be corrected, vision rehabilitation is used to help people with low vision maximize remaining vision in hopes they are able to maintain their independence and quality of life. Vision rehabilitation can teach someone with low vision how to move safely around the home; how to cook, read and do other activities; and how to find resources, support and adaptive devices to assist them with their disability.
If you have difficulty seeing, even with glasses, contacts, medicine or after eye surgery, contact The Eye Center today to talk about vision rehabilitation.