Vision loss can be partial (involving one eye or parts of visual field) or complete (involving both eyes). Vision loss can be considered a loss of sight that may occur either gradually or suddenly. 1 in 11 over the age of 65 are living with vision loss.(4) Individuals with vision loss experience double the incidence of difficulties in daily living and social dependence, double the incidence of falls, double the mortality rate, triple the incidence of depression, and quadruple the incidence of hip fractures.(6) Individuals with diabetes and obesity are at higher risk of vision loss.
Age-related macular degeneration is Canada’s leading cause of vision loss. Other common causes of vision loss include cataracts, detached retina, floaters, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.(5) Causes of vision loss can be the result of conditions affecting the eyes to conditions affecting the visual processing centers of the brain.
75% of vision loss can be prevented or treated by getting an early diagnosis and making lifestyle choices such as wearing UV-protective glasses, controlling diabetes, exercising, getting the right amount of vitamins, maintaining a smoke-free environment, and consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and dark, leafy greens.(4)
Consider contacting these support programs:
i) The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians runs a number of national programs and events, in addition to offering online discussion tools, chapters and affiliates, and direct support to those who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted (1)
ii) The Canadian Council of the Blind offers programs on education bursaries, legal advice, advocacy (2)
iii) The Canadian Helen Keller Centre provides one-on-one support/training for deaf-blind seniors and family members (3)
iv) C.N.I.B. is a national non-profit rehabilitation agency that provides services for people who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind.