Low Vision Affects Growing Number of Americans

Man with Visual Impairment

Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, Americans are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. Nevertheless, aging is associated with the increased likelihood of acquired diseases and disabilities such as low vision. Though this condition can occur at any age, low vision disproportionately affects individuals over age 65. As Low Vision Awareness Month (February) comes to a close, Enabling Devices has compiled the following information and resources  pertaining to low vision. We’ve also highlighted some of the products we sell that are especially designed for individuals with low vision.

What is low vision?
According to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, “Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery.” Low vision can make many activities of daily life more challenging.

What are the causes of low vision?
There are many causes. Some of these include age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma and cataracts. In younger people with low vision, injuries to the eye or certain birth defects or syndromes may be the cause of low vision.

What are the symptoms of low vision?
When glasses or contact lenses aren’t sufficient to help individuals to see their surroundings, recognize faces, do chores in their homes, etc. it may be a sign that vision loss is in progress. It is critical to diagnose vision loss as soon as possible, since early diagnosis is key to helping individuals maintain the vision they still have.

What resources are available to help people with low vision?
These days, there are many resources for people with low vision. These include technological advances such as screen readers and screen magnifiers; audio books; smartphone apps; tactile devices and smart glasses. Not sure where to begin? Check out the Low Vision Center at lowvisioninfo.org. You can also find resources at the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Low Vision Resource Guide.

What products are available through Enabling Devices?
For individuals with low vision who require a switch, Enabling Devices’ Tail Light Switch Say It Play It (#464) is a communicator with a large target area and bright yellow color that is easy to locate. Our Auditory Communicator for the Visually Impaired (#4399) is a great tool for those who have low vision and communication challenges. Alternatively our Talkable 2 for the Visually Impaired (#6056) is designed with bright yellow and red switches that are easy to see and activate. Our Musical Lightbox (#200) creates a bright backlight that makes any activity more visible. Younger users with low vision will appreciate our VI Shapes Puzzle (#9041). This puzzle teaches shape recognition. Or treat your whole class with our Kit for the Visually Impaired (#2047N). This kit includes everything a teacher needs to keep students with low vision engaged and learning.