Eyes, Age related illnesses | July 17, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist
Coping with macular degeneration often entails learning how to adjust to the vision loss that has occurred, or may be gradually developing. Low vision rehabilitation is an effective approach that involves the use of specialised support tools and enlists the services of highly-trained ophthalmologists and optometrists and sometimes an occupational therapist, rehabilitation teacher, or a technology specialist.
One of the first approaches that are utilised is called refractive correction, which entails providing supportive equipment such as corrective glasses and contact lens. Refractive correction reduces vision problems that are associated with macular degeneration such as presbyopia, which is the inability to focus up close (e.g. to read letters in a book or newspaper).
When this condition is diagnosed in the early stage, corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses can help individuals regain their ability to read, write, do housework, recognise faces, and see images at a distance.
In some cases, this approach also corrects vision for people with the intermediate form of the disease.
Doctors also recommend that individuals with this disease wear sunglasses that block 98%-100% of ultraviolet light as this protects the retina from further damage.
The degree of low vision often varies with each individual so there are a number of different options that are available. These include:
Computer aids are especially helpful. Software that can read aloud and even write spoken words can be installed on most computers and laptops. In addition, there are programs that automatically increase the size of text in order to improve readability.
Scan-to-read devices are especially useful for individuals with the intermediate stage of macular degeneration who have significant vision loss or partial blindness due to the late stage. These handheld tools take pictures of documents or images and convert printed words into audio output. Moreover, these types of vision aids help individuals, who were becoming dependent upon others to read for them, regain their independence.
A specialist such as an occupational therapist, rehabilitation teacher, or a technology specialist may also come into the home to demonstrate how to use low-vision devices and equipment (e.g. magnifiers and specialised computers).
Some suggestions they may make include:
A therapist may also help an individual with macular degeneration learn how to better use their peripheral vision.
When vision loss increases or blurry grey areas become enlarged, individuals with this disease may start to turn their entire body or tilt toward objects, which may cause poor posture, bodily pain, and discomfort over time. In addition, they may begin to limit their level of activity in the home and in the community altogether due to a fear of having an accident and becoming injured. Learning how to use the peripheral vision involves finding a spot in the peripheral view that is less blurry than the rest of the visual field.
A trained therapist can guide an individual through this process and with consistant practice, the use of the peripheral vision eventually becomes habitual. Furthermore, research has shown that some individuals with macular degeneration are able to successfully adapt to their environment and gradually improve poor posture as their ability to utilise peripheral vision increases.
Individuals who have significant vision loss or partial blindness due to macular degeneration may experience feelings such as helplessness, anger, shock, and depression. They may also struggle to learn how to cope with the disease or make lifestyle adjustments as the condition progresses.
Once macular degeneration has been diagnosed, understanding the types of services and options that are available can improve an individual’s ability to live with this condition.
It is most important for an individual to regain a sense of control and independence when low-vision becomes an issue.
Low vision rehabilitation, which offers the provision of vision aids and other support services, has demonstrated the ability to correct visual errors with the use of prescription eyeglasses, contact lens, and enhanced technology. This approach also improves reading ability and sometimes even increases reading speed in persons with macular degeneration. In many cases, this approach allows people to regain their quality of life while continuing to discuss treatment options with their doctors and is therefore, an effective way to cope with this condition.
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