Insight into Low Vision

Healing, Accepting and Adapting

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You’re being driven home from your eye doctor’s office by a family member. As hard as you try, you can’t seem to digest two specific words the ophthalmologist said.

Low Vision.

Low vision can be caused by glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, injury or other conditions. It is a permanent loss of significant vision that can’t be restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications or surgery. Low vision commonly includes the loss of central or peripheral vision. The inability to see at night or severe haziness are other low vision symptoms.

It doesn’t matter if your vision loss was sudden or gradual, you have the right to mourn your diminished eyesight. This is a normal and healthy process that you are entitled to feel.

Each person will grieve differently and you may experience feelings of anger and sadness. You may also fear that your independence is threatened.

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The reality of sight loss can be overwhelming at any age. If you are young, it can be especially scary to think about what the future holds for you. The way you see the world, literally, will require both your acceptance, patience and adjustment.

If grappling with this new reality becomes overwhelming, accept the emotional support of family and friends. If you are reluctant to talk freely about your emotions with them, seek the help of a mental health counselor to guide you psychologically through this transition.

Although you have lost considerable sight, low vision means that you still have some usable vision. Know that there are ways to maximize your remaining eyesight.

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When you are feeling ready, find out what resources are available to support your safety, independence and quality of life. Ask your eye doctor about rehabilitation programs and professionals who can teach you to live with the vision you still have.

You will likely have options for low vision rehabilitation in your local area. There are various aids and adaptive devices that can help you do the things you want or need to do. An occupational therapist can help you learn adaptive techniques to keep you safer while you perform your daily activities.

As you begin to accept your low vision, remember that adapting how you do things can help you maintain an independent and wonderful life.

*This article is informational only. It is not medical advice and should not replace the advice of a medical professional*