Prevention of Blindness: are you at risk of vision loss?
I am not a medical professional. I have included the following information primarily as I believe any discussion of enabling technology for people who are visually-impaired would be incomplete without discussing steps you can take to maintain your vision. Vision loss is a bit different from many other ailments which can be reversed through medical intervention, commitment to physical fitness, or other lifestyle changes. With most ocular disease, you can often halt progression but seldom reverse the damage which has already occurred. That makes it critical to have routine eye checkups for timely detection.
I would strongly encourage you to identify and routinely see a trusted eye doctor. There is often a genetic component to ocular disease. If you’re reading this eBook because a loved one is losing their sight, it is quite possible that you’re also at an elevated risk.
Drs. Gary Heiting and Jennifer Palombi have provided some cogent information at the All About Vision site. I’ve included excerpts below and would encourage you to visit the site as there are many links and they keep the information updated. Additional information about routine and low vision eye examinations is also available at VisionAware. Low vision means that your vision may still be compromised even with glasses or contact lenses, making it difficult to perform daily activities such as writing a check or reading your mail.
Routine Eye Exams
Routine eye exams are important — regardless of your age or your physical health.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor does much more than just determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. He or she will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
Also, eye doctors often are the first health care professionals to detect chronic systemic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Who Should Get Their Eyes Examined?
Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.
Children’s eye exams are important to ensure normal vision development.
Eye exams for children play an important role in ensuring normal vision development and academic achievement of all kids.
Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children with undetected vision problems often will have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like.
If your child is performing poorly at school, be sure to have his or her eyes examined by an eye doctor who specializes in children’s vision to rule out an underlying visual cause.
What Is the Eye Doctor Checking for?
In addition to evaluating your eyes for glasses and contacts, your eye doctor will check your eyes for eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss. Go to this link for some examples of the conditions that your eye doctor will be looking for.
Finally, the technology is still at the early stage of penetrating the US market but I would recommend screening with an Annidis RHA camera if one is available in your area. This non-invasive imaging technology early detects the major causes of retinal disease long before vision loss. That advance warning can preserve your sight rather than visiting the doctor after vision loss is initially perceived.