LEE COUNTY —
One common age-related disability that we see among the elderly is low vision. Low vision is a reduced level of vision that cannot be corrected by regular, conventional glasses. This is different from being blind. A person who does have low vision does have some useful sight. Symptoms of low vision may include: difficulty in differentiating colors; having a hard time seeing objects at a distance; difficulty in seeing items up close to your eyes such as reading, sewing or cooking. Not all of these symptoms may indicate that you have low vision. An eye doctor can explain to you what is normal in aging or other eye health problems.
WHAT ARE CAUSES OF THE LOSS OF VISION:
1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides sharp, detailed, central vision needed for seeing objects sharply. There are two forms of Age Related Macular Degeneration. It is dry macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration. Neither wet nor dry Macular Degeneration has pain. Early signs of Age-Related Macular Degeneration are blurred vision and yellow deposits under the retina which are seen by an eye professional.
2. Cataracts cause a clouding of the eye’s lens which causes a loss of eyesight or vision. It grows larger over time and can make it difficult to see. Cataracts can appear in one or both eyes.
3. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes damage of the optic nerve in one or both eyes. If Glaucoma is left untreated, vision loss or blindness can happen.
4. Diabetic Eye Disease is a group of eye problems that people with diabetes face because of the complications of the disease. Blurred or blocked vision occurs with this disease.
In helping our elderly citizens dealing with low vision, there are so many free resources available. There are support groups throughout the community that meet and go over helpful tips that help those who have low vision. At the Alabama Institute of Deaf and Blind Opelika Regional and support from Alabama Rehabilitative Services, The Low Vision Support Group of Lee County met on July 20, 2022, and discussed resources of coping with low vision. Menus from local restaurants were shared with members of the Low Vision Group.
The speakers this month were Melissa Sprouse and Bailey Yancey of Lee-Russell Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging. They shared with the members of the group the services provided for senior citizens who are age 60 and older as well as those with disabilities and their families. Services which were shared are prescription drug assistance, senior centers, home-delivered meals, legal assistance, Medicaid waiver, aging and disability resource center and so much more helpful information in improving the quality of life and promote independence for area residents. Call 334-749-5264 for more information.
The Lee County Low Vision Support Group meets every third Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. at AIDB Opelika Regional Center on 355 Dunlop Dr. in Opelika, Alabama. You can contact Shiquita Fulton, vision therapist with Alabama Rehabilitative Services 334-705-2024 and Melody Wilson, case manager for the blind at 256-368-3258.
Our community is so very blessed having both the agencies of Alabama Rehabilitative Services and Alabama Institute of Deaf and Blind working on our behalf of our Lee County Citizens.
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