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Blindness/Severe Vision Impairment In Old Age

Complete or almost complete loss of vision. The risk for blindness increases with age, particularly after the age of 75 years. Some states have a definition of legal blindness, where the person’s vision is too impaired to drive a vehicle. These states establish their own standards for the degree of vision impairment that constitutes legal blindness.

Blindness or severe vision impairment may be caused by long term diabetes or may be caused by CATARACTS, GLAUCOMA, MACULAR DEGENERATION, or Other EYE DISEASES.

Based on “Vision Problems in the U.S.,” a 2002 report on blindness released by the organization Prevent Blindness America under contract to the National Eye Institute of the national institutes of health, the total national average of poor eyesight and blindness for adults age 40 and older is 2.85 percent. Alaska has the lowest speeds of poor eyesight and blindness, at 1.3 percent.

Those states with the greatest percentage of people age 40 and older with both vision impairment (poor eyesight) and blindness are as follows:

  • North Dakota (3.74 percent)
  • Iowa (3.73 percent)
  • South Dakota (3.70 percent)
  • Nebraska (3.42 percent)
  • Kansas (3.43 percent)
  • Florida (3.42 percent)

Prevention of Blindness

Oftentimes, prevention of blindness is potential if elderly adults have yearly checkups to detect glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye diseases. In addition, there are specific plans set up for people who have diabetes, who are, by the nature of their disorder, at quite high risk for developing eye diseases that cause blindness.

The National Diabetes Eye Examination System, established in 2001 by the facilities for MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES (CMS), formerly the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), is a system to motivate individuals with diabetes to get eye examinations.

In this plan, patients older than age 65 who’ve not had a dilated eye examination for three or more years may be fit with an ophthalmologist or optometrist within their area to get an extensive eye examination in addition to a year of follow up attention for the illnesses diagnosed during that evaluation. The only price is the medicare copayment, which might be waived if a financial need exists. (For additional info or to find a participating ophthalmologist, phone the 24 hour toll-free number (800) 222-3937.)

Psychological Impact of Blindness

It’s commonly incredibly hard for a previously sighted man to lose her or his eyesight. The individual may believe he or she’s lost liberty, the enjoyment of seeing family and friends, and the skill to perform jobs that were readily performed previously. The individual may have problems with depression or anxiety, and emotional counselling is generally suggested. Nevertheless, elderly individuals are generally immune to receiving treatment, viewing it as a weakness or as only for someone who’s seriously mentally ill.

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