The term ‘low vision’ is a bit ambiguous. Plenty of people suffer from poor vision, however low vision can be defined as improper sight that can not be fully corrected with surgery, glasses, or contact lenses. Most of this is due to age related problems such as glaucoma or cataracts which is why it’s important for you to celebrate this awareness month with your senior loved one. Some cases of blindness are preventable, so look the warning signs that your elderly loved one may be experiencing low vision problems. They include:
- They have a hard time recognizing the faces of their friends and family.
- They have trouble reading things around the house.
- They have trouble matching their clothes.
- The lights seem dimmer to them.
If your senior loved one is experiencing any of these problems, it might be best for them to see their optometrist. He or she will run them through various tests in order to determine if their vision problems are from more serious threats such as systemic disease like the aforementioned glaucoma or cataracts.
These tests are much more thorough than your standard eye exam. A low vision test is meant to span the entire vision history of your senior loved one. By taking in their past medical records and looking into their family’s records your optometrist will be able to determine the cause of the vision loss and how to prevent it if possible.
They’ll also want to know when the low vision problems started, if they’ve had any other visual rehabilitation services, and how well they can perform basic activities around the home. This will help the optometrist gain greater insight into the extent of your elderly loved one’s low vision problems.
Of course, there will also be a standard eye exam that comes with the rest of the low vision examination. The optometrist will want to know how the external parts of the eye are doing such as its shape, how the pupils reacts to sunlight, and how the eyelids are doing. He or she will also dilate the pupils in order to take a look at the internal parts of the eye. These parts include the retina and the optic nerve. The optometrist will certainly want to know whether those parts are functioning properly or not.
The whole exam is about 2 to 3 times longer than a standard eye exam, but this test must be more thorough. Most cases of blindness are preventable, but they are not reversible. If you or a senior loved one has some form of vision loss, it’s best to get it checked out right away. The sooner you can figure out the problem, the faster you are to stopping it. Do the right thing this January. Celebrate Low Vision Awareness Month and get your exam before it’s too late.
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