As the last of the baby-boom generation nears the age of 65, the number of visual impairment and blindness is projected to “boom” itself, according to recent studies funded by the National Eye Institute. The number of Americans who are visually impaired, including low vision, is expected to double to more than 8 million by 2050!
Low vision is when people have difficulty seeing, even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, and surgery. People with low vision may find it challenging to perform everyday activities – reading the mail, shopping, cooking, or watching television. It is caused by eye injuries, health disorders, or birth defects. 2.9 million Americans suffer from low vision and this number is expected to increase to 72% within the next 14 years. Because the consequences of losing our sight are horrible to imagine people feel anxious, helpless, and depressed. Those experiencing vision loss should talk to their eye care doctor and/or possibly an ophthalmologist or optometrist. These physicians are trained to help people who have low vision maximize their remaining sight. They can also develop a vision rehab plan that identifies the appropriate strategies and assistive devices for a person’s individual, specific needs.
Eye diseases and vision loss have become major public health concerns for the United States alone. The National Eye Institute has already dedicated more than $24 million to low vision research efforts that include learning how the brain adapts to vision loss; finding strategies to improve vision rehabilitation; and developing new technologies that help those with low vision. Research like this will assist people with low vision make the most of their remaining sight.
If seeing is difficult for you or a loved-one, schedule an eye appointment soon to keep your eyes in the best health possible.