Maintaining quality of life with visual impairment
Nearly 10 million Americans have some form of visual impairment or low vision that affects their everyday life, including 18 percent of the older population and nearly 30 percent of people age 85 and older. Low vision is defined as a visual impairment that is not correctable by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery and that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities, according to the National Eye Institute.
Low vision can cause problems in distinguishing detailed letters and numbers when reading, or between similar colors, like red and orange; recognizing physical dangers, like steps or rocks; and identifying facial features. People with low vision may struggle with independence because they find it difficult to complete life maintenance and day-to-day activities.
Low vision can greatly decrease a person’s functional ability and independence, but with the help of an occupational therapist, it is possible to be independent and live an active life. An occupational therapist can help a person with low vision to stay in his or her own home and complete daily life tasks, which can range from grocery shopping and preparing food to managing finances, cleaning the house and getting out and about in the neighborhood and community.