Information about how vision loss affects you.
Advice for living with low vision; from the experts.
Losing some or all of your vision can be very frightening. Vision is our dominant sense; we use it to boost our other senses. If you are an older adult who is loosing vision you may have a unique set of challenges that is compounded by the loss of vision as your vision loss may not be the only loss that they are experiencing. You or your spouse may have other health problems. You may not be able to participate in long awaited leisure activities. You may have concerns as to whether you can remain independent in your own home. Added to these concerns may be the fact that your vision is not stable. Just when you feel that you have adjusted to your vision loss, your vision may change again. The adaptation process must begin again.
The impact of visual impairment is much bigger than the vision problem itself. You have to deal with how the visual impairment affects you psychologically. There are many stages to the grieving process that everyone must pass though on their way to acceptance of their vision loss:
- Shock — Shock is a normal response to an emotionally painful situation. It allows the individual time to gather the necessary inner strength to help in dealing with the pain of the loss.
- Denial — Initially you may not believe that your eye doctor is correct in his assessment. By all means, seek out a second opinion from another eye doctor.
- Grief — It is normal to mourn over the loss of something valued. People differ in the degree to which they grieve and the length of time that they grieve.
- Anger — It is alright to feel angry as you deal with the emotional impact of the loss. Many people ask “Why Me?”
- Depression — This is a normal reaction to the loss of any thing valuable. For most people, your ego or your concept of yourself develops on the things that you can do. With decreased vision, you may feel that you can no longer do what you did in the past. You are, therefore, less worthy. You may start to define yourself by your vision and feel that you are not the same person that you were prior to your vision loss. You may feel that you have lost control of your life. After all, how are you going to get through the rest of your life if you cannot see? If you are having trouble overcoming your grief or depression, get counseling or join a low vision support group in your area.
While it is normal to go through a period of shock, denial, depression and even anger, this grieving process is finite. At some point you will begin to accept that you vision loss may be permanent and decide that you need to get on with your life. The same life that you had before your vision problem began. After all, you are the same person. Getting to this stage varies from person to person; it may take a year or more.
With the correct tools, everyone with a visual impairment will be able to do more than they thought they could do. The only significant barrier to improvement is resistance to learning something new. At some point you need to decide if your vision problem is a handicap or a challenge. If you believe it is a handicap, you are likely to give up. If you view your vision loss as a challenge and you are willing to be flexible and learn new ways to do your daily tasks, you can live independently and productively.
Small successes with the appropriate tools can get people with vision loss into the right mindset.
Therefore, low vision devices and optical aids can become an integral part of the process of regaining self-esteem, overcoming feelings of hopelessness, and regaining emotional strength as compensatory strategies are learned.
Talk with the experts who will advise you on the best products for coping with vision loss. Call 800-826-4200!