Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What is the White House Conference on Aging?

Posted on: April 21st, 2015 by lowvision

The White House has held a Conference on Aging each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.

Many organizations are working hard to have low vision and aging eye disease on the agenda at the Conference. You can learn more about the White House Conference on Aging and sign up for email alerts here: http://www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov

Some of the common issues that are expected to be discussed include:

  • Retirement security is a vitally important issue. Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.
  • Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.
  • Long-term services and supports remain a priority. Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.
  • Elder justice is important given that seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

Low Vision News Recap – November 2014

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of November.

Diagnosing glaucoma by watching your iPad? It could be here sooner than you think.
Washington Post
Imagine being able to determine whether you have a degenerative eye disease such as glaucoma by simply watching a movie or TV show on your iPad. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. For now. But a new study from researchers in the United Kingdom suggests that, thanks to advances in eye-tracking software, identifying one of world’s leading causes of blindness could someday be as simple as watching a sitcom in your home.

Macular degeneration may respond to new laser therapy
Medical News Today
A new type of laser treatment has the potential to slow progression of age-related macular degeneration – a major cause of vision loss – without damaging the retina.

Tiny implant helps patients see again
KVUE
Zoom in close enough and you can see it ─ a tiny telescope in Leslie Vlonitis’ right eye. Leslie has macular degeneration, which blocks her central vision. She was nearly blind, but now can read a magazine and watch baseball on TV. The telescope is for patients with end-stage, dry macular degeneration. It uses micro-optical technology to magnify images and improve “straight ahead” vision.

Stanford doctors look to stave off vision loss
San Francisco Chronicle
About 10 percent of patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration will develop the form of the disease that causes permanent blindness. It’s unclear just how much genetics plays a role, so there’s no definitive way to predict who will progress to that stage or when that would happen. However, it may be not too far away in the future. Researchers at Stanford created an algorithm that predicted whether a particular patient would be likely to develop the form of the disease that causes blindness within less than a year, three years or up to five years. The sooner a doctor can notice changes, the better chance there is to save a patient’s vision.

Patients Missing Out On Low Vision Services
Medscape
Many baby boomers who could benefit from low vision therapy aren’t getting it for a variety reasons, including a lack of a standard definition of low vision and lack of referral to low vision specialists, a new survey shows.

 

Aging Gracefully and Living Independently

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by lowvision

Living out your golden years can be blissful and fulfilling, yet many aging adults also face the issue of declining mobility as their bodies and vision weren’t what they once were.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24,000 people over the age of 65 died after a fall in 2012, making it a serious public health issue. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 each day, the issue of mobility in aging adults will continue to be a priority as our country ages.

When thinking about balance, it is a combination of vision, muscle, perception of space, and concentration. Unfortunately, this involves vision, muscle strength, proprioception (the body’s ability to know where it is in space), and attention. As people age, those elements deteriorate.

However, tech developers, builders, and other professionals are realizing the potential to help this population live independently by utilizing technology and installing furnishings which help those with limited vision or mobility to prevent falls.

Apps for Independence 
In a recent TIME feature on “Senior for Startups,”  the piece highlighted a new app called Lively, which helps loved ones respect an aging family member’s independence while being able to monitor on their wellbeing from afar through sensors on pillboxes and the refrigerator.

Cleaners

Many retirement homes are turning to their cleaning staff to ensure that rooms are not only clean, but are trained to inspect for tripping hazards that can be present when a person has low vision, such as a crumpled rug or a piece of furniture that is in the walking path of an individual.

Refurbishing a Residence
Some builders are putting themselves into the shoes of the people whose homes they’re constructing. When building for aging adults, it’s important to consider things like hues of trim and what type of floor to install. Older adults can perceive these environmental factors differently and foster conditions ripe for falls.

For instance, black toilet seats may not be aesthetically appealing but the contrast for someone with low vision can help prevent a fall.

Exercise
While many may be worried how exercise could lead to a fall, it actually is one of the best remedies to keep bodies strong in your 60s and beyond. Keeping strong and maintaining muscle mass is important to preserve balance and reduce falls.

Low Vision News Recap – October 2014

Posted on: November 6th, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of October.

Disease Severity in One Eye May Predict Progression in the Other
US News and World Report
A new study finds the severity of age-related macular degeneration in one eye is associated with the risk of developing the disease and its progression in the other eye.

No ‘pity party’ for volunteer on a mission to help others with reduced vision
Orange County Register
Wayne Heidle doesn’t let retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision loss akin to looking through a pinhole and often leads to total blindness, get in the way of his efforts to improve the lives of others as a volunteer at the Low Vision Center at Fullerton’s Marshall B. Ketchum University.

‘Wandering eye’ may raise risk of falls for older adults
Fox News
Older people with strabismus, where one eye points slightly inward or outward affecting vision, are about 27 percent more likely than people without the condition to be injured by a fall, according to a new study.

Bono: ‘I have glaucoma’
CNN
There’s a reason for Bono’s ever-present orange-tinted sunglasses, and it’s not rock-star affectation. The singer announced he has suffered with glaucoma for the past two decades and wears shades to protect his eyes.

Technology allows Missoula man with visual impairment to enter workforce
The Missoulian
It’s extremely difficult for people with severe visual impairments to find good jobs, especially customer service-oriented jobs in fast-paced restaurants. But with modern technology, the hard work of state agencies and local nonprofits and a willingness on the part of employers, people like Robert Wilkins can thrive. They gain self-confidence and become more financially independent.

Eye Injury Awareness in Your Life

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by lowvision

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings whether at work or play, especially when it comes to your eyes. For those who work in environments with occupational hazards like construction or manufacturing, it’s important to take extra precautions like wearing protective eyewear. However, when accidents may occur, many neglect to protect their eyes.

Every day, 1,000 Americans experience eye injuries while on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that almost 70% of the eye injuries studied occurred from falling or flying objects, or sparks striking the eye.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that most eye injuries happen in the workplace. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, nearly half of all eye injuries occurred in the home. More than 40 percent of eye injuries were caused by projects and household activities such as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking.

How can you help to preserve your vision whether at work or doing daily activities? Most injuries could be prevented if individuals wear appropriate protective eyewear:

  • On the job: Safety glasses and goggles should be utilized at all times. For welders, special goggles should protect your eyes from the intense exposure to heat and light.
  • At home: From mowing the lawn to doing household renovations, these unsuspecting activities can be an eye injury accident waiting to happen. Be sure to wear safety goggles to provide protection for your eyes
  • On the field: Sports eye injuries are common, which can not only put you on the sidelines but also leave a person from suffering varying degrees of vision loss. Sports eyewear can be used in different games like basketball or soccer and can protect sight while enhancing your game.

Visit your eyecare provider for more information and get yourself fitted for protective eyewear today.

What is Presbyopia?

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by lowvision

If you have changed your iPhone settings to a larger font — you’re not alone. The gradual loss of the ability to focus on near things, also known as presbyopia, starts at around age 40 and affects many people, including millions of people who previously had perfect vision.

Presbyopia is similar to farsightedness, in that it makes it tough to focus on items close up, but it’s caused by a loss of flexibility in the lens as people age. One of the most obvious signs of presbyopia is the need to hold reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. Other symptoms include eyestrain, headaches or feeling tired from doing up-close work.

Once a change in your eyesight is detected, you should visit an eye care professional. Since nearly everyone develops presbyopia, if a person also has myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, the conditions will combine. Your optometrist will find the best glasses or contact lenses for you and your lifestyle.

Below are some options to consider:

Reading glasses
Reading glasses are typically worn just during close work such as reading, sewing, etc. These “readers” are easily purchased at drug stores and other retail stores. You can also choose higher-quality versions prescribed by your eye doctor. If you wear contact lenses, your eye doctor can prescribe reading glasses that can be worn with your regular contacts to help you adjust to detailed, close-up work.

Bifocals
Bifocal lenses have two different points of focus. The upper part of the eyeglass lens is set for distance vision, while the lower portion of the lens has a prescription set for seeing close work.

Progressive Lenses
Progressive lenses are similar to bifocals, but they offer a more gradual visual transition between the two prescriptions with no visible line between them.

Multifocal contact lenses
Just as bifocal lenses have two levels of corrective power, multifocal contact lenses create multiple levels of corrective power.

Monovision
Another way to correct presbyopia with contact lenses is monovision, in which one eye has a contact set for distance, and the other has a contact set for near vision. The brain learns to adapt to using one eye or the other for different tasks.

Because presbyopia cannot be prevented, it is important to visit your eye care provider regularly to ensure you have the correct eyewear to enhance your daily life.

Low Vision News Recap- September 2014

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of September.

Young Man with Macular Degeneration Describes What It’s like to Go Blind
Medical Daily
Macular degeneration — often called age-related macular degeneration — is typically found in adults 60+. The disease attacks your central vision and can lead to trouble with completing daily tasks like reading and driving, and can ultimately leave you virtually blind. Despite the fact that the disorder mainly affects older individuals, one 29-year-old suffers from a type of macular degeneration called conrad dystrophy. Mark Muszynski describes his condition in a video, saying that his disorder is defined by a genetic mutation in his ABCA4 gene, which causes a loss of photoreceptor cells.

Foods to help reduce glaucoma risk
Fox News
As glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, researchers have found that eating the right foods may help to reduce the risk of glaucoma, prevent the disease, and help people to maintain healthy eyesight longer in life.

Beyond magnifying glasses: High-tech options for the vision-impaired
Marketplace
With new technology hitting the market every day, developers are also creating applications that can assist individuals with low vision on digital devices.

Researchers Probe Molecular Cause for Glaucoma
HealthDay
A possible breakthrough in glaucoma research: scientists have identified the two molecules which, if not present in the eye, could result in blocked drainage of fluid from the eye that then builds up pressure and can damage the retina and the optic nerve.

Consumer Tech and Low Vision: Tools you can use

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by lowvision

Over the past two decades, we have seen a digital transformation where many print objects like newspapers, books and mail are now accessed through electronic devices. However, for individuals who live with low vision conditions, this can be problematic as font styles and sizes can be difficult to read in these new mediums.

As technology has evolved, companies have recognized the unique needs of this population and are working to enhance products and software to meet the needs of people with low vision.

Recently, Google has retooled its apps and products to enhance accessibility for low vision and blind users of Google Drive as well as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms. The improvements include an enhanced screen reader, Braille display, and phone support for those who need additional assistance.

Below are some other essential tools and resources that can help enhance your life while living with low vision.

  • E-Readers: Apps like Spotlight Text and Read2Go provide adjustments for avid readers with impaired vision, helping increase or decrease font size as needed. E-readers like Kindles and iPads have functions in place to adjust font sizes and contrast settings on each device, in addition to text-to-speech functionality.
  • Text: Text-to-speech apps are available to translate the small print into audio. Tools like Siri on the iPhone can assist with this function as well.
  • Maps: Directions are an issue for everyone, but can even be harder to interpret with vision impairment. Many GPS apps provide voice assistance in addition to written directions.

These apps and devices are available to anyone. Tools and devices specifically for people with low vision can also increase quality of life for people with these conditions and help with everyday tasks. More information on low vision devices is available at http://whatislowvision.org/low-vision-devices/.

Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, individuals with low vision don’t have to be left behind and can even thrive with the help of new technology.

Low Vision News Recap- August 2014

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of August.

Here’s how to protect your vision as you age
Washington Post
As baby boomers age, more people will be confronted with vision problems. While there’s no way to prevent presbyopia — the fuzzy close-up vision that requires reading glasses — doctors say you can do a few things to lower your risk for — or at least slow the progression of — other age-related problems.

Needle Treatment for Glaucoma Shows Promise
The Wall Street Journal
Scientists are working to develop new techniques to administer medication for glaucoma patients that replace the usual regimen of twice-daily eye drops, a sometimes unreliable treatment. A promising approach, reported in the August issue of Experimental Eye Research, involves a monthly injection of a slow-release drug directly into the eye.

iStent provides permanent relief for glaucoma patients
Fox News
Most glaucoma patients use eye drops to treat the disease. However, managing the eye drops— which sometimes need to be administered multiple times during the day— can be cumbersome. One new solution for managing glaucoma is a new minimally invasive surgical procedure that inserts a device called iStent, providing a more permanent solution for glaucoma patients.

Smoking linked to risk, progression of macular degeneration
Reuters
People who smoke, or have smoked a large number of cigarettes over time, are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration or to have it worsen sooner, according to a long-term study.

Take a look at this different approach to cataract surgery
Daily News
Dr. Scott Greenbaum, an assistant clinical professor in the department of ophthalmology at New York University, developed the method for treating cataracts — the clouding of the eyes’ lenses — that eliminates the need for glasses in 90% of patients.

Learn symptoms of macular degeneration
The Courier Journal
Odds are that more than half of boomers will suffer at some point from an age-related eye problem. One of the biggies is macular degeneration (MD), and the risk increases substantially with age, starting at 2 percent at age 50 and jumping to 30 percent by age 75. All told, some 15 million Americans suffer from this condition, and it’s a major cause of losing the ability to perform everyday activities necessary to live independently.

 

Low Vision through the Ages

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by lowvision

Even though many baby boomers place an emphasis on health, well-being, and prevention, many may be oblivious to the risk the have for developing low vision disorders. Protecting your eyes is a lifelong commitment and early detection is key to helping stem the progression of low vision disorders.

Below is a look at low vision disorders through the ages:

  • By age 80, more than half of all Americans have cataracts. However, the first signs of cataracts can emerge in your 40s and 50s. Routine eye exams can detect this health issue early.
  • Risk of age-related macular degeneration is commonly reported among individuals 60+, but accelerated cases are sometimes found in individuals in their 40s and 50s. Pnce diagnosed, treatment can preserve remaining vision.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing this eye condition.
  • Cumulative UV damage from years of exposure can accelerate conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts during older adulthood.

To safeguard your vision well into your golden years, be sure to:

  • Visit your eye doctor for annual comprehensive eye exams.
  • Be alert to how other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can affect your vision.
  • Know that it’s never too late to start wearing sunglasses to protect your vision from ultraviolet rays.