By Dr. Susan Barish –
What is Low Vision
Low vision is the term used to refer to a visual impairment that is not correctable through surgery, pharmaceuticals, glasses or contact lenses. It is often characterized by partial sight, such as blurred vision, blind spots or tunnel vision, but also includes legal blindness. Low vision can impact people of all ages, but is primarily associated with older adults. Millions of Americans lose some of their vision every year. Irreversible vision loss is most common among people over age 65.
Is losing vision just part of getting older?
No. Normal changes do occur in our eyes and vision as we get older. However, these changes usually don’t lead to low vision.
How do I know if I have low vision?
There are many symptoms that can signal vision loss. Ask yourself or a loved one the following questions: Do you experience any of these challenges even with your regular glasses?
• Difficulty recognizing faces of friends and relatives?
• Challenges in completing tasks that require you to see well up close, like reading, cooking, sewing, or fixing things around the house?
• Difficulty choosing and matching the color of your clothes?
• Trouble completing tasks because lights seem dimmer than they used to?
• Straining to read street and bus signs or the names of stores?
If so you should seek out a vision screening. Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment and maintaining vision. Eye sight lost from Low Vision is not reversible but is treatable. Early intervention is the key to stopping the progression of vision loss. This is why consistent vision screening is fundamental for older adults and those living with diabetes.
“Early detection of vision changes can literally save eye sight”, explains Dr. Susan Barish of Personal Physician Care in Delray Beach Fl. “We are a primary care practice that focuses on early detection and monitoring those issues that can particularly effect older adults, we aim to ensure our patients enjoy long and healthy lives”. Dr Barish is a primary care physician whose passion for healthy living is seen in every day practice. “We have developed a protocol of treatment that hallmarks early detection in every area of medicine, and have developed close relationships with the area’s most skilled medical specialists to ensure our patients have access to the best medical care available.”
“When it comes to Low Vision and vision changes your primary care physician can be your best defense against vision loss. Simple, non-invasive screenings when completed on a regular basis, can uncover vision changes before these changes interfere with daily living or lead to vision loss”, explains Dr. Barish. “If changes are detected we immediately refer our patients to an Ophthalmologist for more in depth testing and where early interventions can save sight”.
Early detection is fundamental to enjoying a healthy and active life. To learn more about Personal Physician Care’s contact the medical team at 561-498-5660
Most Common Causes of Low Vision
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD/ARMD): AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among Americans over age 60. It accounts for nearly half of all low vision cases. It is caused when the part of the eye responsible for sharp, straight-on vision – the macula – breaks down and causes a loss of central vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy: According to the National Eye Institute, more than 30 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy. It is a major cause of blindness and is directly related to high blood sugar, which damages blood vessels. That damage affects the retina and can even lead to its detachment.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. With glaucoma, portions of vision are lost over time, usually with no warning signs or symptoms prior to vision deterioration. For many, a decrease in peripheral vision is the first sign of glaucoma.
Cataracts: Over 20 million people in the US alone have cataracts according to Prevent Blindness America. It appears as a clouding of the lens of the eye.
Retinitis Pigmentosa: This is a group of inherited diseases affecting the retina resulting in progressive vision loss. This type of vision impairment often begins in childhood with poor night vision and progresses over time.
561-498-5660 ext 346