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The Impact of Vision Loss and How to Use Sight More Efficiently

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Vision loss has a significant impact on the lives of those who experience it as well as on their families, their friends and society, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Vision loss can affect one's quality of life, independence, and mobility. It has been linked to falls, injury, worsening of mental health, cognition, social function, employment, and educational attainment.

Medication side effects also can factor into eye problems. Always check with your doctor about the possible side effects of drugs and, if eye issues are among them, be sure to have eyes checked regularly.

What to Do if You or a Loved One are Experiencing Vision Loss

The following are suggestions from the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

  • Accentuate light and dark contrasts. For example, avoid placing light foods such as mashed potatoes and chicken on white plates.
  • Improve lighting throughout the house, particularly in bedrooms, kitchens bathrooms, and on stairs. Consider adding an additional countertop light or lamp near cutting boards and other food preparation areas.
  • Reduce glare by adding window coverings or window film.
  • Use large print and magnifying glasses to read, cook, and take medications.

Take advantage of electronic and audio products. And check out these apps for individuals with low or no vision.

How to Empathize with Someone Who has Vision Problems

Want to learn more about what it’s like to have vision problems? Take the Ready to Care SM challenge “Can you read this?” to better understand vision impairment.

Try the following exercises to experience vision impairment for yourself:

  • Fold a plastic bag four times and hold it in front of your eyes, then attempt to make out words on a paper or images in front of you.
  • Stick masking tape on each half of an eyeglass lens to help empathize with someone who has glaucoma.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Preserve Vision

A healthy lifestyle is an important way to preserve vision. For example, a diet lacking antioxidant vitamins or eating too much junk food has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Foods to keep eyes healthy:

  • Fruits and vegetables (good sources of vitamins C and E)
  • Dark green vegetables such as kale and spinach (lutein, vitamin E)
  • Beef, eggs, lamb, milk, peanuts, pork, and whole grains (zinc)
  • Bananas, chicken, dried beans, fish, liver, pork, and potatoes (vitamin B6)
  • Citrus fruits, fortified cereals, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, liver, mushrooms, nuts, and peas (folic acid)
  • Dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, and shellfish (vitamin B12)

For more about how home care could help you or a senior loved one experiencing vision loss, find a Home Instead Senior Care office near you.

Last revised: February 10, 2020

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