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Not only can vision loss cause a reduction in the quality of life, but as a recent article published in JAMA Ophthalmology shows, it may also reduce the overall length of life as well!
As summarized by Science Daily, a JAMA article found that vision loss causes a reduction in the ability to accomplish key daily activities (which it called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living or IADLs) such as using the phone or shopping which, in turn, causes an increase in mortality.
As the authors of the article state, “…when uncorrectable VI [Vision Impairment] is present, helping affected individuals maintain robust IADL is important.” And that’s exactly what Low Vision Care can do since the magnification devices that are typically dispensed with the service allow patients to better read price tags, food labels, and prescription bottles – all important tasks that increase independence as well as safety.
The reduction in mortality is an outcome that’s hard to beat in terms of importance! Drs. Hartman and Garlick are experts in the area of low vision care.
Glaucoma is a related group of eye conditions associated with age, race, family history, and abnormally high pressure inside the eye. The condition damages the optic nerve, and decreases vision. In most cases, the process happens so slowly that symptoms aren’t noticed until the disease is fully advanced. Two types of glaucoma have been identified: primary open-angle and acute angle-closure. In the first, more common type, there is a loss of peripheral vision, which usually progresses slowly and imperceptibly. In the second type, there is often severe eye pain, nausea, vomiting and disturbed vision. Glaucoma treatment starts with prescription eye drops to reduce the pressure in the eye. It is important to have regular eye exams so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated early.
Cataract is a progressive cloudiness of the internal lens of the eye. It is most common in people over 55, but sometimes even affects babies and children. Cataracts prevent the lens from transmitting light properly to the retina, thereby affecting vision. Symptoms of cataracts include hazy or blurry vision, increased sensitivity to glare at night, unusual prescription changes, and reduced night vision. Sometimes patients report that colors become less saturated. The treatment for cataracts consists of surgically replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens which restores sharp vision.
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common reason for vision loss in Americans over age 65. By affecting the cells in your macula, the part of your eye responsible for seeing fine detail, macular degeneration causes distortion and loss of central vision. The disease is divided into “wet” and “dry” categories. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels under the macula begin to grow and leak. Blurred vision is an early warning sign of this form of the disorder. In the far more common dry macular degeneration, light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate over time. Straight lines that appear crooked are an early symptom of this type of macular degeneration. Regular eye exams can detect the condition before vision loss sets in. With modern treatments, early damage to the macula and the resultant vision loss associated with macular degeneration can usually be restored. Treatment can slow further damage. Proper nutrition, including green leafy vegetables and vitamin supplements have also been shown to slow the progress of macular degeneration.
Although pink eye doesn’t ordinarily cause permanent damage to your eyes, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration can result in low vision and even blindness. Having regular comprehensive eye exams is vital for early detection of these threats to your eyesight. Drs. Hartman and Garlick are skilled and experienced at detecting these conditions early and either treating the condition themselves, or referring patients to local experts for more specialized care.