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Vision Loss in Older Age

    Usually vision weakens as we age.  It is a common occurrence, & not one to cause an undue sense of alarm unless your ophthalmologist says that you have a more serious condition.  There are many cases, however, where vision loss can be a very big challenge, especially if you know that you have a condition that is likely to worsen.

There are many types of issues that can cause your vision to get worse.  A changing prescription for eye lenses, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc. can occur along with a slow progression to difficulty in seeing what once came easily.  Because there are so many different causes of vision loss, it is important to have a diagnosis so that you know how to combat the problem, and correct it, if possible.

But, what if correction is not possible?  It is a frightening prospect for even the bravest of souls to think about slowly losing your sight.  If this is the reality in your life, however, taking some simple steps now could make your life much easier as it progresses.

Safety first!  The first step in making your life better later on is to be assured that your home is safe.  Be sure to get rid of rugs that can be tripping hazards. Make the edges of stairs easier to see with bright tape or lighting under the tread edges. Mark stove knobs well so that you can see them easily without bending over to check. Consider marking the handles of your sharp knives with a bright paint so that you can spot them easily in the sink & won’t cut yourself.  Be willing to admit when you can no longer drive yourself.  Think about the safety of others.

Comfort next! Try to keep a moderate amount of light in each room, nothing too bright & glaring, nothing too dim.  If you have a favorite spot to sit & read or do a hobby, make sure that you have adequate light so that your eyes do not need to strain.  If you’re finding newsprint sizes are difficult, order larger print books from the library, or set up a free-standing magnifying glass that you can use comfortably while reading or doing needlework.  Consider marking your clothing with the color on a tag.  Hang them in your closet using a specific system so that you know which colors are where & which outfits go together.

Prepare for the future! If your vision prognosis is grim & you expect to fully lose your vision, consider learning braille.  There is a large amount of information available to those with complete vision impairment.  This simple step can equip and empower you to meet your future with bravery & also a sense of control.  Begin researching this avenue while you have time to research.  Then, as the change occurs, you can adapt comfortably instead of it being a devastating affair.

Seek support from family & friends!  Finally, be sure that you talk about the changes you’re making with family & friends.  They will need to know some of the changes to be accommodating of your needs, but it’s also to reassure them that you are aware of the steps you need to take.  They may have invaluable input that can help to make your life full & joyful despite the changes you face.  Over all, be sure that you do not isolate yourself when the change begins to happen.  Loneliness can be much more debilitating than any physical ailment, while friendship can help you maintain a light heart in spite of struggle.



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