Having “low vision” is not the same as being “blind.” For example, your doctor may tell you that you have a blind or blank spot in the center of your vision that limits your ability to read or see people’s faces; nevertheless, you can still get around using your side (or peripheral) vision.
What Low Vision Means
As we age, our eyes change too. In most cases, regular eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct many of these vision changes. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription glasses, medication, or surgery and you still have some usable vision, you have what is called “low vision.”
Having low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as reading your mail, shopping, preparing meals, and signing your name.
Why is it important to raise awareness about age-related eye diseases?
Many people think that vision loss is a normal part of aging and are unaware of what they can do to protect their sight. Lifestyle factors—such as not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; engaging in physical activity; controlling diabetes; eating a healthy diet that includes fish high in omega-3s and dark, leafy greens; and protecting eyes from the sun—can all help prevent the onset or delay the progression of eye disease. Comprehensive dilated eye exams should also be a part of a person’s routine health care, especially if he or she is over age 50.
What are the most common age-related eye diseases and conditions?
The most common eye diseases and conditions that affect older adults include age-related macular degeneration(AMD), cataract, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, glaucoma, and low vision. Many of these diseases and conditions do not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages. They can be detected through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Treatment is most effective when an eye disease is diagnosed early.
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