Low Vision and Smart Phones

Many of us just use the basics on our smart phone and never personalize them for our own needs. It is worth taking the time to adjust our phones to take advantage of the special services that may be available and unused. Making a phone call or sending a text message with a smart phone can be challenging, however, with simple modifications, keeping in touch with the world can become a snap. Getting comfortable with your smart phone will make staying in touch with your loved ones very easy.

If you’ve used a smartphone these past several years you already know that a great deal of voice command capabilities come built in to most current models, so you can verbally instruct your smartphone to “Call my wife,” or “Read my last text message.” The smart phone has been a wonderful addition to the world of technology; with built-in accessibility features these phones have provided individuals with visual impairments the ability to carry out several activities that have been difficult without the use of a magnifier or other assistive device.

One way to make it easier to see the names in your contact list is to magnify the text on the screen. After tapping the “SETTINGS” icon on your home screen, you will find “ACCESSIBILITY” features under General Settings or Personal Set-up. Accessibility features can be used to visually enhance the use of your smart phone. Adjusting the size of the text, under the “LARGER TEXT” selection can magnify the print in your contact list so that names are easier to see. Simply sliding the prompt on the larger text screen to the right will enlarge print throughout your smart phone: phone contacts, text messages and emails.

Despite enlarging text, you still may find it difficult to see contacts on your screen. That is where tools called “VOICE ASSISTANTS” or “TEXT-TO-SPEECH” can make it less stressful for you. After you have enabled the settings, you can engage them by speaking into your unit’s microphone. On most phones, this feature can be turned on by holding down the home button. Once you hear a beep, you say the name of a person or business. You can access your contact list by asking your voice assistant to call people from your contact list or by reciting the phone number you are trying to connect to.

Tips for a Better Low-Vision Phone Experience

Whether you use some or all of the low-vision phone features described in this article, there are still more things you can do to improve phone usability that don’t require a trip to Accessibility settings. Some involve choosing hardware and software, others are simple, and cost nothing.

  • Right-size your phone: How much magnification you need depends on your vision, of course, but also on the size of the phone you choose. If you need a high level of zoom, or larger text, you might want to pick a phone with a larger screen, which will allow more of the screen contents to remain visible when you zoom or crank up the font size. You’ll find Android and iOS phones with screens up to 5.7 inches. Tablets are bigger. The challenge of a large phone for some low-vision users is the need to hold the device close to your eyes to view it. Before you choose a phone, be sure to handle and use the model you’re planning to buy.

  • High-contrast wallpaper: You can change the background of your Home screen by turning any photo into wallpaper, or picking from wallpapers already available on the device. Using a solid color, rather than a busy photo that obscures your app icons and the text on the Home screen can make it much easier to locate text and icons. If a solid background seems boring, try a starry sky or snowy scene, for a dark or light look, respectively.

  • Apps with dark mode and/or font size options: Apps that focus on reading and navigation often have their own accessibility-enhancing options. Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle app allow you to change font size, and even typeface, as well as changing the background or text color of what you’re reading. Seek out apps that compensate for what might be missing in your phone’s operating system, or that simply offer a better experience.

Get the Most from your Phone

The good news about smartphones is that they all provide features to support those with low-vision or whose eyesight has simply changed due to age. Your challenge is to try out as many of these features as possible, and decide which ones are right for you.

For tips and instruction on how to use smartphone (Iphone/Android) if you have low vision:

How a visually impaired person can use a smartphone

How To Set Up An Android Phone/Tablet For Low 

How I Use My iPhone 7 Plus | Life, Legally Blind 

How to Lessen Computer Vision Syndrome

Your eyes are your window to the world – but your eyes get a lot of extra strain thanks to the advent of new technology. Especially at work, we’re looking at screens of all different sizes and types all the time. And what happens to our eyes can be more than just a case of tired muscles; in fact, it’s got a name – computer vision syndrome.

The cause of that is obvious – lots of screens, as we said, and often multiple screens. In addition to computer vision syndrome, sufferers can feel headaches and eye fatigue among other symptoms. Luckily there are steps you can take to reduce or mitigate the chance of eye strain. Setting up a work station properly can help, as can anti-glare screens or placement of technology in relationship to sources of natural light.

If you’re focused on the health of your eyes, this graphic is an absolute must-read.

How to Protect Your Eyes in the Digital Age

thumbnail_eugene
Eugene Feygin
Program Manager at Quill.com

Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

If you need eyeglasses it is because you were diagnosed with a refractive error during your eye exam. This means your eyes have trouble focusing and images can appear blurry. Types of refractive errors include being near-sighted (myopia), far-sighted (presbyopia) or having an astigmatism (your cornea is an irregular shape).
Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

Understanding What 20/20 Vision Means

The number is based on you standing a distance of 20 feet (considered to be the norm) in front of a Snellen or Tumbling E eye chart to test your visual acuity. If during an eye test you can read the big E at the top of the eye chart, but none of the letters below that, your vision is considered 20/200. That means you can read a letter at 20 feet that people with “normal” vision can read at 200 feet, meaning you have very poor visual acuity. If you can read the fourth line from the bottom of most charts, you vision is 20/20. Any line below that would be 20/15 or below and indicates that you have exceptional visual acuity. Each eye is tested separately as your eyes are designed to compensate for each other and would not give an accurate reading.

Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

The prescription you receive may be a chart with headings that are filled in, or it may just be written out. In any case, it is written in a specific order, with the results for each eye listed first.

  • OD is an abbreviation for oculus dexter, meaning right eye, while OS is oculus sinister, meaning left eye. If both eyes are being referred to the abbreviation you will see is OU (oculus uterque) meaning both eyes.
  • The next term on your prescription is Sphere (SPH) and is are measured in diopters (D). This number tells you how strong your lenses need to be to correct your vision. If this number has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted; if the number has a plus sign (+) or is not preceded by any sign, you are farsighted.
  • Next may be cylinder (CYL), an indicator of the lens power if you have an astigmatism. The number for the CYL has the same format as the SPH, a minus sign (for the correction of nearsighted astigmatism) or a plus sign (for the correction of farsighted astigmatism). If there is no number given you either have no astigmatism, or your astigmatism is so slight that it is not really necessary to correct it.
  • If you do have a CYL number you will also have an axis number, based on a protractor scale that tells you where on the eye the astigmatism is found. For example, SPH –2.50 D CYL +5.00 Axis 40 means you have a nearsightedness of -2.50 dioptics with an astigmatism of +5.00 along the 40 degree axis.
  • If you are getting bifocals or progressive lenses, there is another number called an “Add.” This number is the amount of additional correction your eyes need to focus at close distance and will always be a positive number, whether or not the + sign is there.

Needless to say, eyeglasses are expensive, but understanding a prescription should help you understand why. The stronger the lens the more expensive it is and then with each adjustment, the cost also increases. Also don’t forget that anti-glare or UV protective coatings add to the costs, but may be well worth it. Eye glasses are an investment in your safety, job, independence and letting you enjoy any leisure-time activities you enjoy.

2/9/16

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Low Vision Aging Adults at Higher Risk for Falls

Low vision in aging adults varies as do the occupational therapy techniques that might help older adults in becoming more independent. Mr. P has glaucoma resulting in a narrowed field of view. He is light sensitive, and keeps his blinds closed, darkening the house. He is responsible for doing his laundry, yet his washer and dryer are in the basement, causing a safety concern. Mrs. K has macular degeneration with 20/400 visual acuity. She has severely reduced contrast sensitivity, and can no longer drive or recognize faces easily. She no longer gets to the senior center for regular exercise sessions, which is concerning to her and her OT. Ms. T was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. She has struggled for years to accurately see her glucometer and insulin. She has recently developed peripheral neuropathy, leading to wheelchair dependency. Each of these patients is likely to leave their home less often because of their low vision, eventually leading to a decline in lower extremity weakness, balance, endurance and confidence. The fear of falling leads to more isolation, which can cause even more lower extremity weakness, problems with balance, decreased endurance, and even depression. The irony is that this cycle, which began with caution and a fear of falling, lends itself to exactly that. . .a fall.

Why are low-vision aging adults at higher risk for falls?

According to the CDC, “Each year, millions of older people-those 65 and older-fall. In fact, one out of three older people fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.” The typical aging adult with low vision faces challenges that others do not. Difficulty seeing details combined with reduced contrast sensitivity leads to a decline in mobility and socialization.
risk for falls
risk for falls
So how do we help older adults with low vision lower their risk for falling? When considering safety within the home, persons with low vision must make it a priority to add lighting & contrast whenever possible. Consider all rooms of the house, including entrances, hallways and stairways.

  • Placement of night lights in hallways, stairway, etc.
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  • Keep flashlights in accessible places throughout the home where night lights are not possible.
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  • Instead of closing blinds, keep them open & wear appropriate colored filters to manage glare/light sensitivity.
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  • Small battery operated stick-on lights or rope lighting is inexpensive, and easy to place on steps to light up a stairwell.
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  • Line edge of steps, or stairway railing with brightly colored duct tape to increase visibility.
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  • Make sure grab bars, tub benches, shower chair are high contrast, to be most visible.
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  • Remove throw rugs, with the exception of those providing function, such as the one at the entrance and bathtub. Their purpose is for providing dry shoes and feet, but they should have a non-skid back and a high contrast color to “stand out.”
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  • Reduce clutter in rooms to increase safety by removing items from floors, walkways and stairwells.
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  • Consider investing in a Medical Alert System to provide added piece of mind, confidence, especially when living alone.

Persons with low vision can decrease their frequency of falls by staying social and walking in the community. Unfortunately, many low vision adults become more house bound when they can no longer drive. Locating sources of alternative transportation may be helpful. Seeing faces is difficult, making socializing a challenge, which can lead to depression. The following recommendations take into consideration the challenges of not seeing details or across the visual field normally, while improving lower body strength, endurance, coordination, confidence, and hopefully reducing the risk of a fall.

  • Encourage regular trips to the grocery stores and the mall to keep physically fit. Malls are safe environments to walk around because of wide, straight hallways. Use magnifiers to see price tag/label details, or take advantage of personal shoppers who assist with locating items.
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  • Participate in regularly scheduled exercise sessions (videos, groups, etc). Sit/stand in the front row, ask instructor to provide clear verbal instruction, instead of only demonstration. Consider hiring a personal trainer in order to get 1:1 instructions for how to use exercise equipment. If watching a video, move closer to your largest TV screen. Home exercise equipment can be labeled with high contrast markings to increase visibility of its details.
  •  

  • Consider joining a senior center in the community. Some have low vision support groups.
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  • Access driving alternatives, such as the Smart Bus, Senior Centers, Local Volunteer or Church groups. Consider using money previously spent for a car and its expenses to hire a private driver.
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  • Use appropriate colored filters in bright outside conditions or darker inside environments (i.e. Amber outside in the sun; Yellow inside a dark restaurant or outside with overcast weather).
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  • Consider using a walker or support cane when walking longer distances in the community or neighborhood. Many individuals decline using an assistive device, not realizing how active and fit it can make them. Rolling walkers are even available with seats, allowing for rest breaks wherever necessary.

While the fear of falling is great amongst all seniors, those with low vision need to consider adding strategies that specifically benefit them. Making changes within the home may be as simple as improving lighting and contrast. Remaining physically fit outside of the home may be done with shopping or exercise equipment, but either way staying active will improve confidence, the fear of falling, and hopefully decrease the chance of a fall. If you are unsure of what approach is best for you, consult with your ophthalmologist about scheduling a low vision eye exam and occupational therapy.

Reference:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control-CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, Protecting People

12/3/15

Annette Babinski's headshot thumbnailAnnette M. Babinski, OTR/L CLVT
Henry Ford Health System
Vision Rehabilitation Center
 
 
 
 
 

Michelle Buck's headshot thumbnailMichelle Buck, MS, OTR/L CLVT
Henry Ford Health System
Vision Rehabilitation Center

General Differences Between Polarized and Absorptive Lenses

Polarized and Absorptive Lenses

Polarized and Absorptive Lenses
Polarized lenses can be helpful in reducing glare; in fact, they were first developed to help with glare from outdoor sports and activities. Here is a passage from All About Vision that explains the basics of polarized lenses very well.

Light reflected from surfaces such as a flat road or smooth water generally is horizontally polarized. This means that, instead of light being scattered in all directions in more usual ways, reflected light generally travels in a more horizontally oriented direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light that we experience as glare. Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare.

Though polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you will encounter some instances when these lenses may not be advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you don’t want to block light reflecting off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching. In addition, polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller machines and self-service gas pumps. With polarized lenses, you also may be unable to see your cell phone or GPS device.

Boaters and pilots also have reported similar problems when viewing LCD displays on instrument panels, which can be a crucial issue when it comes to making split-second decisions based strictly on information displayed on a panel. (Some manufacturers of these devices have changed their products to solve the problem, but many have not yet done so.) Many polarized lenses are available in combination with other features that can enhance outdoor experiences.

Absorptive Sunlenses/Sunglasses do a little more than just reduce glare.

These are special wraparound sunglasses that filter out ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light. I explained those two types of light in my post. In addition to reducing glare, they can also increase contrast, which is important for visibility.

They also come in a variety of tints: dark gray-green, medium amber, medium gray, medium plum, yellow, orange, amber, and light orange. Many of the available tints/colors also have a percentage sign. The percentage sign represents the amount/percent of visible light that is transmitted through the lens. Here are some examples:

  • 32% medium gray
  • 10% medium amber
  • 2% dark gray-green
  • 20% medium plum
  • 65% yellow
  • 49% orange
  • 16% amber
  • 52% light orange

It is the tint – in combination with the amount of light transmission of each tint – that is helpful for people with glare issues. There are a few manufacturer websites that explain the range of absorptive lenses very well.

The first is NoIR Medical Technologies (NoIR stands for “No Infra-red” light.) You’ll see that there are different colors and tints, and many of the colors also have a percentage sign. The percentage sign represents the amount/percent of visible light transmitted through the lens.

Generally, NoIR recommends the following for people with glare problems:

  • 32% Grey
  • 13% Dark Grey
  • 18% Grey
  • 40% Grey-Green
  • 20% Plum
  • 16% Amber
  • 10% Amber
  • 54% Yellow

You can see from the list that the color does not have to be extremely dark for the lenses to reduce glare and light sensitivity.

Also, Eschenback Optik provides a good overview of Solar Shields, another type of absorptive lens product.

Most styles of absorptive lenses also can be fitted over prescription lenses. The bottom line is that it’s probably necessary to visit an office that carries a supply of these lenses and determine which color, tint, and percentage of light transmission is right for your wife. It’s helpful to compare several styles to determine what tint and percentage of light transmission work best.

10/27/15


Maureen Duffy, CVRTMaureen A. Duffy, CVRT, LVT
Social Media Specialist, visionaware.org
Associate Editor, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness
Adjunct Faculty, Salus University/College of Education and Rehabilitation

Increased Awareness for Saving Vision

The following is a survey done by Essilor (a French company that produces ophthalmic lenses along with ophthalmic optical equipment) and a large marketing research firm in the UK, YouGov. While the focus in on people living in the UK, the results would probably be similar to the US population. Even with increased access to the Internet, many people are still not aware of the risks associated with eye disease and what they can do to help retain their vision. Increased awareness of informational resources are important for saving vision.
saving vision
There are a number of websites with easy to understand information about taking care of your vision that I have listed under Resources to Help Save Vision at the bottom of this article. And while there are eye diseases that are hereditary, you can slow the onset and progression by making good lifestyle choices about smoking, diet and exercise. Your eye care specialist is also an excellent source of information about what you can to do reduce your risk of vision loss, at any age.

Increased Awareness for Saving Vision

A YouGov poll conducted with Essilor reveals that most Britons are unaware of damage to their eyes by surrounding objects, activities, and devices. This widespread lack of awareness means fewer people seeking methods of prevention and avoidance, and for those that are aware of risks, most are not informed of existing preventative measures.

The poll has shown* that many British people remain uninformed about the various ways in which eyes are damaged by common daily factors, despite evidence that eye health is affected by blue light, UV rays (reflected from common surfaces), diet, obesity, and smoking.
Of the 2,096 people polled, the percentage of respondents aware of the link between known factors affecting and eye health were:

  • Poor diet – 59%
  • Obesity – 35%
  • Smoking tobacco – 36%
  • UV light, not just direct from the sun but reflected off shiny surfaces – 54%
  • Blue light from low energy lightbulbs and electronic screens – 29%

More than one in ten people were completely unaware that any of these factors could affect your eyesight at all.
saving vision
72% of respondents own or wear prescription glasses but only 28% knew that there were lenses available (for both prescription and non-prescription glasses) to protect against some of these factors; specifically, blue light from electronic devices and low energy light bulbs, and UV light from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.

76% admitted they haven’t heard of E-SPF ratings – the grade given to lenses to show the level of protection they offer against UV.

Just 13% have lenses with protection from direct and reflected UV light, and only 2% have protection from blue light (from screens, devices, and low energy bulbs).

Poll results showed that younger people were most aware of the dangers of UV and blue light, yet least aware of how smoking tobacco and obesity can affect your eye health. Within economic sectors, middle to high income people are more aware of the effects of smoking & obesity on eyesight than those with low income –

  • 39% of people with middle to high income compared to 33% of people with low income are aware of the impact of smoking tobacco.
  • 38% of people with middle to high income compared to 31% of people with low income are aware of the impact of obesity.

Awareness of the impacts of smoking and obesity on eye health is significantly higher in Scotland (47% & 49% respectively) than anywhere else in the UK (35% & 33% in England and 40% & 38% in Wales).
Essilor’s Professional Relations Manager, Andy Hepworth, has commented: “The lack of awareness about these common risks to people’s eyes is concerning. Not only would many more glasses wearers be better protected, but also many people who do not wear glasses would likely take precautions too, if made aware of the dangers and the existence of non-prescription protective lenses.”

To see the full results of the poll, please visit the Essilor website.

For more information on the protection offered from blue light and UV through specialist lens coatings, for both prescriptions and non-prescription glasses, please see here for UV & Blue Light Protection options.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,096 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st and 24th August 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Resources To Help Save Vision
All About Vision
Macular Degeneration Partnership
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Prevent Blindness

10/16/15


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Business Opportunity for Blind Adults

Food for Thought – Business Opportunity for Blind Adults

For those not in the know, the acronym sounds like a popular sandwich. However, for Louisville, KY resident, George Bouquet, The Hadley School for the Blind’s and the National Association of Blind Merchants’ joint“BEPLT” program (Business Enterprise Program Licensee Training) is more like a dream come true.

George Bouquet - Business Opportunity for Blind
George Bouquet

Hadley is the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind and visually impaired worldwide and the BEPLT program is part of the school’s Forsythe Center for Employment (FCE) and Entrepreneurship. Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, legally blind adults are given first right of refusal on operating state and federal government vending facilities including cafeterias, snack bars, convenience stores, micro markets, and vending machines and rest stop vending areas nationwide. In February 2014, Hadley’s FCE partnered with the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) and the National Federation of the Blind Entrepreneurs’ Initiative (NFBEI) to bring the academic portion of training to would-be blind vendors. Individual state Business Enterprise Programs provide the hands-on component of the blind vendor training. Bouquet is Hadley’s first graduate from the school’s new BEPLT program.

Born with both Pierre Robin Syndrome, which often results in a smaller-than-normal lower jaw, a cleft palate, a tongue that falls back in the throat, and difficulty breathing, as well as Stickler Syndrome, which causes hearing loss, eye abnormalities and joint problems, Bouquet has struggled with health issues throughout his 54 years. Although he was born without eye lenses, he was not born blind. Rather, his vision worsened over time. Bouquet worked in several food service positions since high school and had wanted to become a Randolph-Sheppard vendor even before he would have qualified as legally blind!

There are only so many blind vendor licensee training slots available and many more people compete for them than such programs can accommodate. The first time Bouquet applied to receive the training was in February 2014. Unfortunately, he was not accepted into a program. However, he was fortunate to gain some blind vendor experience by working under friends who already held the license. In early 2015, Bouquet’s counselor told him of another opportunity to apply for vendor training. This time he was accepted and Bouquet began Hadley’s BEPLT program in April 2015. Bouquet was so motivated to graduate from the program that he completed approximately two modules (one-lesson online courses) per week. Hadley’s BEPLT students complete a 10-module program and then take their state’s physical training component. After passing both elements, graduates are eligible to bid for the opportunity to become a blind vendor in their community.
George Bouquet - Business Opportunity for Blind
“The [Hadley BEPLT] program offers a lot of useful information. It will really help anyone wanting to undertake vending,” he said. Bouquet then acknowledged that the material about food borne illnesses helped him to realize the tremendous responsibility he would be accepting by running a government food service area. “As a manager, you need to decide what you are willing to delegate to other people,” he added.

For Bouquet, becoming a blind vendor allows him to hire and train his 25 year-old unemployed son, who inherited most of his visual and hearing problems. This training is Bouquet’s first step toward creating a legacy of financial independence.

10/13/15

Sheryl BassSheryl Bass, MA, MSW
The Hadley School for the Blind

Vision Loss and Depression

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, the National Eye Institute (NEI) hosted a Twitter chat on vision loss and depression. Here are some highlights of that discussion, along with some great resources to learn more about dealing with vision loss and depression.
vision loss and depression

  • Many studies show that people with vision loss or low vision are at risk for depression, although not everyone with vision loss gets depressed.
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  • A person with low vision is defined as someone who finds it difficult to do daily tasks even with regular glasses, contacts, medications or surgery.
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  • The number of Americans with low vision will increase over 70% by 2030. Broken down by ethnicity, African Americans with low vision will increase 93% and Hispanics with low vision will increase 190% during the same period. This is due to the rapidly aging Boomer population. 88% of Americans with low vision are age 65 and older.
  •  

  • Symptoms of depression include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability and fatigue. It is a common and serious illness that interferes with daily life. Each year, about 6.7% of American adults experience major depressive disorder. Women and men experience depression differently, with women 70% more likely to experience depression than men.
  •  

  • People 65 and older are at particular risk for developing serious depression related to vision loss and yet it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Older adults may have other, less obvious symptoms of depression or they may not be willing to talk about their feelings. Many overlooked because sadness is not their main symptom. It is important to remember that while depression is a common problem among older adults, it is not a normal part of aging.
  •  

  • An estimated 29-58% of those who suffer significant vision loss have major depressive disorder one year later. People with vision loss are 2x more likely to be depressed than someone without vision loss. Depression can be very disabling and may reduce the effectiveness of low vision rehabilitation interventions.
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  • A recent study confirmed age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a big contributor to depression risk, as it accounts for about 45% of low vision cases.
  •  

  • Older adults w/ vision loss are also 3X more likely to report difficulty in 1) walking, 2) managing medications, and 3) preparing meals. In fact about 39% of people with severe vision loss experience activities of daily living ADL limitations, compared to 7% of those with better vision. ADLs include eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking and continence.
  •  

  • A link between depression and vision loss was also found in people as young as 20 according to a recent study. It looked at over 10,000 adults in the US and found they were approximately 2x more likely to be depressed.
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  • A decline in vision can also be associated with lower emotional, physical, and social functioning. To help those with low vision avoid depression it is important that they remain active and engaged in the world around them. And while people may become depressed because of vision loss, other causes of depression may also be present.
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  • An integrated approach to depression management in older adults with impaired vision may be the best course of action. Behavioral activation helps people recognize that loss of the activities they enjoyed that have led to depression and encourages them to find ways to re-engage with these activities. After 4 months, behavioral activation reduced the risk of depression by 50% compared to the control group. Behavioral activation can be used alone, or as part of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
  •  

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people with depression restructure negative thought patterns and to correct distorted thinking that is often part of depression. But it is important to remember that the best approach to treating depression is to personalize it for each individual.
  •  

  • Often, the combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy is a very effective option for depression treatment. Other time-limited psychotherapies, including interpersonal therapy (IPT) are effective in treating depression in people of all ages.
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  • Collaboration between eye care and mental health professionals can help people with vision loss improve their quality of life.

Resources
Understanding depression

How to live with low vision

Living with Low vision – How you can help webinar

Update on depression and AMD

Association of vison loss and depression in those over 20

Sadness impairs color perception

Rehab helps prevent depression from age-related vision loss

10/6/15

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Which Eye Care Specialist Do You Need?

It’s time to get your eyes checked – do you go to an ophthalmologist, optometrist or optician? Your optometrist sees the beginnings of age-related macular degeneration, but is sending you to see and ophthalmologist, why?
eye care specialist
One of the most confusing things about taking care of your eyes can be differentiating between an ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician. Each eye care specialist has a very important part to play in the health of your eyes and here is a quick synopsis of what each does so you can choose the best one for your vision issues and treatment.

Ophthalmologist
These specialists are fully trained medical doctors that have completed the eight years of training beyond a bachelor’s degree. Their training has included a full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses and giving eye injections, to carrying out intricate eye surgeries. Many doctors may also be involved eye research to better understand vision, improve eye disease treatments or potentially find a cure. They are easily identified by the MD following their name.

Optometrist
These medical professionals have completed a four-year program at an accredited school of optometry. They have been trained to prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses, as well as diagnose and treat various eye diseases. They provide treatments through topical therapeutic agents and oral drugs, and are licensed to perform certain types of laser surgery, such as Lasik. They are easily identified by the OD following their name.

Optician
These eye care professionals are not licensed to perform eye exams, medical tests or treat patients. Their purpose is to take the prescription from the ophthalmologist or optometrist and work with you to determine which glasses or contact lenses work best for you. If you suffer from an eye disease like keratoconus, these specialists can make the difference between a relatively normal life, or one that is dictated short periods of vision because of contact lens pain. These eye care professionals may hold and associate optician degree or have apprenticed fore required number of hours.

While each one of these eye specialists has their own area of expertise, they can form a team whose only concerns are your eye health and the ability to see as clearly as possible.

8/11/15

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Vision Recap Of Previous Articles of Interest

Besides the comments that we get, one of the best parts of putting together this blog is the wonderful group of guests who share their expertise and personal stories. I want to thank all of the eye care professionals and friends that have contributed to make this blog a success.
Vision Recap
Here is a quick vision recap of some of the articles we had in the past that you may have missed.

Jullia A. Rosdahl, MD, PhDCoffee and Glaucoma and Taking Control of Glaucoma

David Liao, MD, PhDWhat Are A Macular Pucker and Macular Hole?

Kooshay MalekBeing A Blind Artist

Dan Roberts15 Things Doctors Might Like Us To Know

Jennifer VilleneuveLiving With KC Isn’t Easy

Daniel D. Esmaili, MDPosterior Vitreous Detachment

Donna ColeLiving With Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Pouya N. Dayani, MDDiabetes And The Potential For Diabetic Retinopathy

Robin Heinz BratslavskyAdjustments Can Help With Depression

Judith DelgadoDrugs to Treat Dry AMD and Inflammation

Kate StreitHadley’s Online Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Catherine Warren, RNCan Keratoconus Progression Be Predicted?

Richard H. Roe, MD, MHSUveitis Explained

Sumit (Sam) Garg, MDCataract Surgery and Keratoconus

Howard J. Kaplan, MDSpotlight Text – A New Way to Read

Gerry TrickleImagination and KC

In addition to the topics above, here are few more articles that cover a variety of vision issues:

If you have any topics that you would like to read about, please let us know in the comments section below.

6/23/15


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation