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Low VisionTopics

Aging Low Vision Issues

Senior Low Vision Overview

Over one million Americans aged 40 and over are currently blind and an additional 2.4 million are visually impaired.
The leading causes of vision impairment (low vision) and blindness in the U.S. are diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma.
-- DIABETIC RETINOPATHY is a common complication of diabetes. Retinal blood vessels can break down, leak, or become blocked, affecting and impairing vision over time. Nearly half of all people with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy during their lifetime, and risk increases with age and duration of diabetes. People with diabetes are encouraged to seek annual dilated eye exams. Currently, laser surgery and a procedure called a vitrectomy are highly effective in treating diabetic retinopathy. Research into pharmaceutical treatment options is continuing.
-- AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION is a condition that primarily affects the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. There are two forms of AMD -- dry AMD and wet AMD. Because AMD often damages central vision, it is the most common cause of legal blindness and vision impairment in older Americans (AMD rarely affects those under the age of 60). While there is no generally accepted treatment for dry AMD, laser therapies to destroy leaking blood vessels can help reduce the risk of advancing vision loss in many cases of wet AMD. Research sponsored by the National Eye Institute has recently shown that a combination of zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene may also reduce the risk of advanced AMD by 25 percent.
-- CATARACT is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. Most cataracts appear with advancing age. Scientists are unsure what causes cataract. The most important factor is increasing age, but there are additional factors, including smoking, diabetes, and excessive exposure to sunlight. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world, and affects nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. By age 80, more than half of all Americans develop cataract. Cataract is sometimes considered a conquered disease because surgical treatment that can eliminate vision loss due to the disease is widely available. However, cataract still accounts for a significant amount of vision impairment in the U.S., particularly among people age 65 and over who may have difficulty accessing appropriate eye care.
-- GLAUCOMA is a disease that causes gradual damage to the optic nerve that carries visual information from the eye to the brain. The loss of vision is not experienced until a significant amount of nerve damage has occurred. For this reason, as many as half of all people with glaucoma are unaware of their disease. About 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and another two million do not know they have it. Most cases of glaucoma can be controlled and vision loss slowed or halted by timely diagnosis and treatment. However, any vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored.
Those affected by low vision often become depressed, are prone to falls and resultant injuries, and many are socially isolated. There are several things that can be done to assist those with low vision.

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Low Vision Tips (1)

Low Vision Tips

If you or someone close to you has low vision due to glaucoma or another eye disease, here are some simple tips to help continue living an active daily life.

Some eye disorders can be fixed by wearing appropriate contacts. However , you should always consult your eye doctor before starting this kind of treatment.


Improve Lighting - Add additional light for specific tasks. Use directed lighting from behind the shoulder to reduce glare. Be sure that bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, closets, and stairways are well lit.


Increase Contrast - Pour your coffee into a white cup, and your cereal into a dark bowl. Set white plates on dark place mats. Use a black cutting board for white onions and a white cutting board for dark-colored foods. Use felt tip pens instead of ball point pens.


Control Glare - Wear amber or dark yellow glasses or clip-ons to reduce glare, and wear a cap with a brim or a visor outside. Cover shiny surfaces with a cloth.


Get Organized
- Always keep your money, keys, and medications in the same place to make them easier to find. Have a designated place for everything in your home, and request that others in the household respect and maintain the organizational system.


Enlarge Text - Request large-size checks from your bank. Use large print crossword puzzles and playing cards. Photocopy and enlarge favorite recipes, addresses, and take-out menus. Use the accessibility features on Macintosh and Windows computers.


Mark and Label - Mark key positions on your stove, microwave oven, washing machine, and thermostat with dimensional fabric paint or nail polish so you can feel the correct positions. Label spices and medications with a dark marking pen. Carry your address labels with you to use when filling out forms.


Listen to Books
- Listen to audio tapes and books on CD borrowed from your local library, or from the free Talking Books program sponsored by the National Library Service.


You may also consider visiting a low vision specialist who can help you to get organized and assist you in maintaining your independence. For more information, see the Glaucoma Research Foundation

(1) Created by and for more information contact:

Glaucoma Research Foundation
251 Post Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-986-3162

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Kindle: Reading Device- Makes all Books Large Type Editions

For those of you with low vision a new electronic devise is here to help, Its adjustable font feature lets you read downloaded books with ease. Hence every book can instantly be a large-type edition. The Amazon Kindle is an electronic book (e-book) computer appliance which debuted in November 2007. Featuring an electronic paper display, it reads the proprietary Kindle format, and downloads content over Amazon Whispernet which utilizes the Sprint EVDO network. The Kindle can be used stand alone without a computer. Whispernet is accessible in the United States through Kindle without any fee.


Kindle Product Overview

LOW VISION Features

Adjustable Text Size
You can increase the text size of your favorite book or periodical with the push of a button. Every book in your library can be large print.

Read-to-Me

With Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and your spot is automatically saved.

Sleek & Trim
At 10.2 ounces, Kindle is lighter than a typical paperback and as thin as most magazines. Barely a third of an inch in profile, fits perfectly in your hands.

Simple to Use, No Computer Required

Kindle is completely wireless and ready to use right out of the box.

Longer Battery Life - Read for Days Without Recharging
You can read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks.

Charge via USB
Kindle supports wall charging or from your computer.

Get Books in Under 60 Seconds with No Wireless Bills
Your books and periodicals are delivered via Whispernet with national coverage in less than 60 seconds. And unlike WiFi, you never have to hunt for a hotspot. No monthly wireless bills, data plans, or commitments.

Holds Over 1,500 Books
Kindle weighs 10.2 ounces and holds more than 1,500 books. A copy of every book you purchased is backed up online at Amazon.com

Paper-like Screen
Kindle provides a crisp black-and-white 6" screen with the same appearance and readability of printed paper.Kindle's high-resolution screen now boasts 16 shades of gray, so images and photos are sharper and clearer than ever. Kindle's screen reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, You can be read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room

Bookmarks and Annotations
You can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book.

Full Image Zoom
Images and photos display crisply on Kindle and can be zoomed to the full size of the screen.

Personal Documents
Kindle makes it easy to take your personal documents with you, eliminating the need to print them.

Built-in Dictionary with Instant Lookup
Kindle includes The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries

Wireless Access to Wikipedia
Kindle also includes free built-in access to the world's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia--Wikipedia.org.

Search
Kindle makes it easy to search within a book, across your library, in the Kindle Store, or even the Web.

To Get Your Kindle, Just Click Here ---->

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Cataract Awareness Points (2)

  1. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s around the nation indicate that people don't have to live with cataracts.
  • Cataracts are very common. Approximately 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts.
  • A cataract is a clouding of the eye's clear lens. This prevents the passage of light needed for vision.
  • Cataracts are a significant cause of blindness in some parts of the world; however, technological advances and the availability of new procedures in the United States mean that for most Americans, cataracts don't lead to vision loss.
  • More than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80.
  1. New advances and techniques have made cataract surgery one of the most successful and life-improving surgical procedures.
  • Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States, with more than 1.6 million procedures performed each year.
  • Cataract surgery is usually covered by medical insurance, including Medicare.
  • Cataract surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. In this procedure, the Eye M.D. makes a tiny incision through which he or she removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a permanent artificial lens.
  • Lasers are not currently used to remove cataracts. But they are sometimes used after cataract surgery to remove a film that can grow on the lens implant.

  1. If you think you may have a cataract, you don't have to live with it. Talk to your Eye M.D. about your options.
  • There are no medications or exercises that will prevent the formation or progression of cataracts or make a cataract disappear.
  • Nutritional or vitamin supplements have been shown to be beneficial in populations with nutritional deficits, but due to the inconsistent results reported in clinical trials, recommendations cannot be made at this time.
  • Although it is very safe and effective, cataract surgery is surgery and you need to carefully decide if it is right for you. If the cataract does not interfere with your life, you may decide surgery is not warranted.
  • Talk to your Eye M.D. if cataracts are interfering with your lifestyle.

(2) American Academy of Ophthalmology, 7/2008 http://www.aao.org/aao/

Helpful Resources

BrightFocus Foundation funds research seeking cures for Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, and provides the public with information about risk factors, preventative lifestyles, available treatments and coping strategies.


 
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