July Is Senior Independence Month
Each day, approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65, and one in six, this age and older, has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Millions of older Americans have low vision, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to accomplish activities such as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car or recognizing faces. Low vision can be caused by eye diseases that are more common in older adults, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Milauskas Eye Institute and The American Academy of Ophthalmologyrecommend that people with low vision and those that care for them to follow these tips:
- See an ophthalmologist. Those with low vision can improve their quality of life through low vision rehabilitation, which teaches people how to use their remaining sight more effectively.
- Make things bigger. Sit closer to the television, the movie screen or the stage at performances. Get large books, phone dials and playing cards. Carry magnifiers for help with menus, prescription bottles and price tags.
- Make things brighter. Make sure areas are well-lit and cover shiny surfaces to reduce glare. Consider increasing color contrasts as well. For instance, drink coffee from a white mug and always use a felt-tipped pen with black ink.
- Use technology. Many of today’s newer technologies have applications that can help with low vision. For example, e-readers allow users to adjust the font size and contrast. Many smartphones and tablets can also be used to magnify print, identify cash bills and provide voice-navigated directions.
- Organize and label. Have specific places to keep for your keys, wallet. Organize frequently used items in your refrigerator. Mark thermostats and dials with high contrast markers from a fabric store; label medications with markers or rubber bands; and safety-pin labels onto similarly colored clothing to tell them apart.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Keep your social group, volunteer job, or golf game. It might require lighting, large print cards, a magnifier, a ride, or someone to watch your golf ball.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. If you feel that you or someone you care for may have low vision, call today and schedule a comprehensive eye exam.