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Why Do Seniors Often Overestimate How Well They Can See?

woman drinking coffee 640It may be hard to believe, but many people with sight-threatening eye diseases are completely unaware of their condition until they suffer irreversible vision loss. That’s especially true of people 60 and older, who are the ones most likely to develop these conditions.

Many eye conditions and diseases can creep up slowly, with no discernible symptoms in their early stages.

In one Swedish study of 1,200 seventy-year-olds, 6 out of 10 didn’t realize that their vision was subpar, or that there were ways to maximize their remaining vision with certain glasses or a stronger lens prescription.

The study concluded that many seniors overestimate their eye health, largely because the symptoms of eye disease can develop gradually and often go unnoticed.

Conditions That Can Slowly Impair Vision

Here are some common causes of vision impairment that don’t always have obvious warning signs, at least early on. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, contact Dr. Bock Low Vision to schedule a prompt eye exam.

Cataracts

When the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, cataracts are to blame. They are often a natural part of the aging process, which is why most cases of cataracts occur in people over the age of 50. Depending on the location and intensity of the cataract, it can interfere with vision and may need to be surgically removed.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or dim vision
  • Perceiving colors as faded
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in lens prescription
  • Sensitivity to light

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is an eye disease that affects the macula (the central portion of the retina) and causes central vision loss. Having a functioning macula allows us to read, watch TV, recognize faces and see fine details.

Symptoms of AMD include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing straight lines as distorted or wavy
  • Difficulty reading
  • Oversensitivity to glare
  • Needing bright light to perform close work

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. It typically affects both eyes and can lead to peripheral vision loss, known as ‘Tunnel Vision.’ Left untreated, glaucoma can eventually cause total blindness.

The early stages of glaucoma do not have any obvious signs, meaning frequent eye exams are essential. Symptoms of middle to late stages of glaucoma include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Seeing rings around lights
  • Sensitivity to light

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

DR is a complication of type 1 and 2 diabetes that damages the blood vessels in the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Controlling your blood sugar helps to minimize eye damage.

Symptoms of DR include:

  • Gradually worsening vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Dark areas in your visual field
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden increase in floaters

Our Low Vision Optometrist Can Help

Here’s the bottom line: many eye conditions and diseases develop gradually, waving no red flags until the eye is irreversibly damaged. That’s why comprehensive annual eye exams are so crucial for individuals over the age of 60, even if they believe that their eyes are healthy.

At Dr. Bock Low Vision, our low vision team uses the latest diagnostic technology to ensure the most accurate examination and diagnosis. If any signs of eye disease are found, don’t worry —we can help.

We offer various low vision aids and devices so that you can continue living your life to the fullest.

Vision impairment doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love. To schedule your low vision consultation, call Dr. Bock Low Vision in San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys today.

Q&A

Q: #1: What are low vision aids?

  • A: They are devices that help people with reduced vision to read, watch TV, recognize faces, and carry out daily tasks. They work by [maximizing] any usable vision and include magnifiers, closed-circuit television, telescope glasses, and more. Your low vision optometrist will help you decide which devices best meet your lifestyle needs.

Q: #2: What can cause low vision?

  • A: People with low vision have visual impairments that can’t be corrected by surgery, medication, or any traditional eye correction methods, like standard glasses and contact lenses. Low vision can be caused by an eye injury, eye diseases like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, aging and accidents, among other causes.

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How High Tech Helps Those With Low Vision

high tech senior 640

We’ve come a long way since 1270, when Marco Polo discovered elderly Chinese people using magnifying glasses to read.

Technology for people with low vision has changed dramatically—even in the last few years! Today, people with low vision have unprecedented access to cutting-edge medical procedures as well as a wide range of low vision devices and aids, including high-tech headsets and mobile phone apps that help them to read, navigate the world around them, and recognize faces.

If you or someone you love is living with low vision, contact Dr. Bock to discover which low vision devices or low vision glasses will help you live more independently.

Low Vision Electronic Devices

There are a number of low-vision devices and low vision glasses that may help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Macular degeneration causes people to lose central vision when the center of the eye’s retina (the macula) degenerates with age. While macular degeneration is considered incurable, a system using VR goggles and software to magnify the field of vision are sometimes the best way to help those with macular degeneration maximize the use of their remaining vision.

This headset system can help restore the user’s ability to watch TV, read, and do other everyday activities.

Other new assistive technologies include video magnifiers, desktop closed-circuit TV (CCTV) systems, and screen readers. These all allow people to have an up-close view of screens that their vision cannot provide, allowing them to see images and texts more clearly.

Low Vision Apps

Tablets and smartphones now have built-in capabilities for people with low vision, such as:

  • High-definition screens that improve visual clarity
  • Camera lenses that capture and magnify images
  • Speakers that convey directions and words
  • Microprocessors for assistive mobile applications
  • GPS receivers for location-awareness and navigation

Moreover, artificial intelligence can now vocalize written words and sentences so that you understand what you’re seeing—no matter how limited your vision may be.

Low-Vision Assistant Options Keep Growing

There are countless new technologies that can help people live better lives with low vision. However, determining which assistive technologies can best address your needs may feel overwhelming. Dr. Bock Low Vision will be happy to help by matching you with the latest and more suitable low vision device so you can live your best life.

Dr. Bock Low Vision serves patients from San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, West Covina, and Bakersfield, all throughout California.

Frequently Asked Questions with low vision specialist in San Gabriel Valley:

Q: What is low vision?

  • A: Low vision is when a person loses sight that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Low vision can include poor night vision, blurry vision, and blind spots.

Q: Are there other types of low vision aids?

  • A: here are now many low vision aids that can successfully provide improvement in vision and quality of life. Popular low vision devices include:- Magnifying glasses
    – Telescopic glasses
    – Reading prisms
    – Hand magnifiers
    – Lenses that filter light

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