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Posted on 02-03-2016

Defined by Liz Segre at All About Vision, “low vision” is a “significant visual impairment that can’t be corrected fully with glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery.”  If you’re vision is lower than 20/70 in your better eye, if you have significant visual field loss, or if you are legally or almost totally blind, you are considered to have low vision.  However, along with the actual loss of vision, there are other factors that may impact the functionality of people with low vision, particularly seniors. 

In a recent study of 779 seniors who sought treatment for low vision at U.S. clinics, several health problems were found to increase the limitations caused by visual impairment.  Those participating in the study completed a questionnaire that calculated their overall vision, mobility, and eye-hand coordination, as well as their reading and information processing abilities.  They were also asked questions concerning their physical, cognitive, and psychological health.  According to the results:

  • Visual acuity is still the strongest predictor of overall visual and reading abilities, but it also has a significant effect on other functional abilities. 
  • Physical health is independently associated with overall visual ability, mobility, and eye-hand coordination. 
  • A decrease in cognitive function only effected reading and mobility. 
  • Overall visual acuity, and in fact all vision-related functional tasks, were consistently negatively affected by depression.  

Putting together all of the data gathered, researchers concluded that physical, cognitive, and psychological health can significantly affect measure visual abilities, and all of these factors should be considered when deciding whether to begin low vision rehabilitation services and when predicting low vision outcomes and effects.  

If you have any questions about your low vision, or have concerns that you may develop low vision, please feel free to speak with any of our four optometrists.  We can discuss how your overall health may be affecting your eyesight and work with you, and other healthcare professionals, to create a treatment plan. 

Source:  allaboutvision.com

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