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February 24th, 2023
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 253 million people worldwide suffer from vision impairment, with 36 million of them being completely blind. While there are different causes of vision loss, low vision is one of the most common forms, affecting millions of people across the globe. In the United States alone, over 3.4 million people aged 40 years and older are either blind or visually impaired, with cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma being the leading causes of visual impairment.
February is Low Vision Awareness Month, and it is a time to bring attention to this often misunderstood condition that affects so many people. Despite the prevalence of low vision, many people may not understand what it is, how it affects people, or what can be done to help those living with this condition. In this article, we will explore low vision, its causes, and what February’s awareness month means for those living with it.
What is Low vision awareness month?
February is recognized as Low Vision Awareness Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about low vision and the various ways to support individuals who are living with it. The purpose of this month is to encourage individuals to seek help, educate themselves, and take action to improve their quality of life
What is low vision?
Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), People with low vision have a reduced ability to see clearly and often struggle with everyday tasks like reading, driving, and recognizing faces. While low vision can affect people of all ages, it is more common among older adults.
What are the common causes of low vision?
Low vision can be caused by several factors including:
Age-related macular degeneration: A condition that damages the retina and affects central vision.
Glaucoma: A disease that damages the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the eye to the brain.
Diabetic retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina.
Cataracts: A condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and can cause vision loss.
Injuries: Trauma or injury to the eye can cause permanent damage and lead to low vision.
What is the importance of Low vision awareness month?
The importance of Low vision awareness month is to educate people on the causes of low vision, its impact on daily life, and the importance of early detection and intervention.
The aim is that by increasing awareness and understanding of low vision, more people will seek help from eye care professionals and receive the necessary support and services to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.
How can people with a low vision be supported?
Low vision can be a challenging and isolating experience, but there are several ways you can help those affected by it. Here are a few ways to support individuals living with low vision:
Educate yourself: Learn more about low vision and its causes. This can help you understand the challenges faced by people with low vision and how to provide support.
Be patient: People with low vision may need more time to complete tasks or navigate new environments. Be patient and offer your support when needed.
Offer assistance: If you know someone with low vision, offer your assistance when needed. This can include reading aloud, driving, or simply providing company and support.
Advocate for accessibility: Advocate for accessible spaces and accommodations to make it easier for people with low vision to navigate their environment.
Encourage regular eye exams: Encourage individuals to get regular eye exams to detect any vision problems early on and prevent further vision loss.
Low vision is a common visual impairment that affects millions of people worldwide. February is Low Vision Awareness Month, and it is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness about low vision and provide support to individuals living with it. By educating ourselves, being patient and offering assistance, advocating for accessibility, and encouraging regular eye exams, we can help improve the quality of life for those living with low vision.
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