Archive for February, 2014

Low Vision News Recap – February 2014

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by lowvision

As Low Vision Awareness Month comes to a close, below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health.

Laser surgery for correcting vision is popular, but it may not be a complete solution
Washington Post
With eyeglasses, contacts, eye exams and laser surgery, U.S. adults invest a lot in their vision care. But not all procedures are helpful or worth the cost. In this article, Consumer Reports reviews the pros and cons of Lasik techniques, highlights new digital lenses, and reviews nutrition and diet habits that can enhance vision.

Training your brain to improve your vision
The Atlantic
A new study reveals that UltimEyes, a game-based app, can improve visual acuity through neuroplasticity (brain training). The app, which requires daily 25-minute “play” sessions, focuses on exercising the part of the brain cortex that processes vision—for instance, the part that takes blurry puzzle pieces from the eyes and arranges them into a neat puzzle. The article discusses the potential for similar apps to aid adults with low vision.

Volunteer, 83, a guiding light to the blind
San Diego Union-Tribune
Losing your vision at any age can be both frustrating and frightening. But fortunately for visitors to the San Diego Center for the Blind in Vista, Calif., there’s someone to help smooth the transition to darkness. This article spotlights Mary Gagliardo, an 83-year-old greeter at the center who helps with everything from welcoming patients to helping best match low vision products for patrons.

Avoid low vision – wear your Military Combat Eye Protection
Fort Campbell Courier
In light of Low Vision Awareness Month, this article provides useful tips for Army personnel (both active and retired) to stave off low vision diseases and eye injury. With 92 percent of Army personnel under the age of 40, the immediate action to take is to wear appropriate eye protection at work, use UV protective sunglasses, and engage in healthy diet and exercise.

Thought of the month: With new technology coming down the pipeline to help improve eye health, would you use a smartphone app to help enhance your visual acuity? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

February is National Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month

Posted on: February 19th, 2014 by lowvision

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the number one cause of severe vision loss in U.S. adults over age 60. The devastating condition affects the central vision of as many as 15 million Americans, impairing their ability to see normally and perform many necessary tasks.

This February, in observance of National AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, we encourage Americans over the age of 60 to learn the warning signs of AMD and schedule an annual dilated eye exam. If you or a loved has already been diagnosed with AMD or low vision, check out our section on low vision devices to discover what tools and resources can help support a more independent life.

Understanding AMD
AMD is the gradual but persistent breakdown of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. Over time, this deterioration can affect the ability to read, drive, identify faces, watch television, navigate stairs and perform a suite of other daily tasks. For many adults, this visual deterioration occurs in one eye and may eventually form in the other.

There are two types of AMD – “dry” and “wet”. The majority of people with AMD have the “dry” form, which is less severe and develops gradually. It is important to carefully monitor central vision when diagnosed with AMD, because it can quickly develop into a more serious condition – wet AMD.

Risk Factors
According to vision experts, the top five risk factors for AMD are:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Family history
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have a macular problem until they notice blurred or distorted vision. If you or someone in your family is at an increased risk for AMD, see an eye care provider as soon as possible to undergo an eye exam. Early detection of AMD is the most important step to preventing serious vision loss.

Treatment Options
There is no treatment for dry AMD but doctors have found a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. Introducing low-fat foods and dark leafy greens into your diet can slow vision loss and may even increase your overall wellness.

If wet AMD is detected early, laser treatment is a popular method to help prevent severe vision loss.

As we observe National AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, take this opportunity to reduce your risk of developing AMD. Avoid smoking, exercise regularly, maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol, and eat a healthy diet that includes green leafy vegetables and fish. For extra motivation, find a friend, partner or neighbor to engage in healthy habits with you!

If you or a loved one suffers from AMD or vision impairment, what is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten regarding life with low vision? Share with us in the comment section!

Information courtesy of


Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Posted on: February 6th, 2014 by lowvision

The 2014 North American cold wave has certainly left its mark on the country. Record low temperatures and headlining snowstorms have made it miserable – and dangerous – to be outside. And for those with low vision, icy conditions can be particularly challenging while walking or driving.

Low vision issues like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration often impact adults’ visual acuity, including contrast sensitivity and depth perception. When combined with icy weather, vision problems can lead to serious falls and life-threatening injury.

To prevent such occurrences, take extra care to assess your environment and stay indoors during precipitation like freezing rain and snow. Be sure to utilize various low vision devices and aides to maximize your remaining vision and restore some form of visual perception. Consider the following products to help you with vision tasks while indoors and out:

• Telescopes
• Hand held magnifiers
• Stand magnifiers
• Spectacle magnifiers
• All terrain canes
• Weather alert radios
• Low vision window pane thermometers

And don’t forget – beyond causing falls, ice and snow are dangerous to your eyes! Fresh snow reflects 85% of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, so shoveling snow or simply looking at it while walking can increase your UV exposure.

UV radiation can progress long-term vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, and can cause temporary but painful snow blindness in the winter. Fortunately, UV eye damage can be prevented by simply wearing UV-protective sunglasses. For adults with low vision, talk with your eye doctor about your prescription sunglass options.

Remember, taking extra eye health precautions in the winter can help you avoid falls and other weather-related injury.

How do you stay eye safe during the winter? Use these hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to tell us!

#polarvortex2014 #lowvision #UVrays #eyeseeyou