Page 9 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - March 2016 - 23-03
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50 Sanderson Lane Coldwater, MI 49036
517-279-9587
www.maple-lawn.org
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Anne Clark, Special to Senior Times THE MEANING OF LOW VISION
Senior Times - March 2016
Page 9
Vision – something we typically take for granted and sometimes it can change in the blink of an eye. When someone very close to me was diagnosed with macular degeneration (which they typi- cally refer to as low vision) I had no idea what it even meant. So I had to do a little research and this is what I found through the University of Michigan Kellogg
Eye Center at www.kellogg.umich.edu/ patientcare/conditions/lowvision.html. (NOTE: there is a lot more information available through this website as well as many other resources available but you always want to be sure the information is current and from a credible resource.)
Low vision usually interferes with the activities of daily living.
What Is Low Vision?
Low vision is a reduced level of vision that cannot be fully corrected with conventional glasses. It is not the same as blindness. Unlike a person who is blind, a person with low vision has some useful sight. However, low vision usually interferes with the performance of daily activities, such as reading or driving. A person with low vision may not recog- nize images at a distance or be able to differentiate colors of similar tones.
You are legally blind when your
best corrected central acuity is less than 20/200 (perfect visual acuity is 20/20)
in your better eye, or your side vision is narrowed to 20 degrees or less in your better eye. People who are legally blind may still have some useful vision. If you are legally blind, you may qualify for certain government benefits. It is esti- mated that approximately 17 percent of people over the age of 65 are either blind or have low vision.
Symptoms
• Difficulty recognizing objects at a distance (street signs or bus signs).
• Difficulty differentiating colors (particularly in the green-blue-violet range).
• Difficulty seeing well up close (read- ing or cooking).
The symptoms described here may not necessarily mean that you have low vision. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam. Your eye doctor can tell the difference between normal changes which are common with age and changes caused by eye disease.
Causes
Although low vision can occur at
any stage in life, it primarily affects the elderly, but is not a natural part of aging. Although most people experience some physiological changes with age (presby- opia), these changes usually do not lead to low vision. Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases. Common causes of low vision, particularly with older adults, include macular degenera- tion, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. When vision impairment is recognized early, treatment can be more effective, enabling people to maintain as much independence as possible.
Local Resources
Now that is all very good informa- tion, but is there other support available besides just getting information from a specialist? The answer is yes!
The Low Vision Support Group meets on the 3rd Monday of the month from 9:45-11:15am at Northpointe Woods.
The Low Vision Support Group facili- tator is Muriel Walters who has been leading this group for approximately
10 years. Her dedication has led her to use other support groups in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids as a resource to bring back current up-to-date information
that people in our area wouldn’t have access to otherwise. She has also been a member of the Battle Creek Lions Club which further supports the education she receives. So if you have any questions, Muriel is a local and wonderful resource for those needing help and support with a vision condition (see the support group listing on page 6 for her contact informa- tion!).
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Branch Area Transit Authority
Curb to Curb Transportation • Half Fare for Handicapped and Senior Citizens Over 60 • Weekly Subscriptions Available • Equipped for the Handicapped • Open Seven Days a Week
CALL (517) 278-5889 306 S. Clay Street, Coldwater, MI • www.branchareatransit.com
What Is Full
Retirement Age?
Answer: Full retirement age is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retire- ment benefits. Your full retirement
age depends on your date of birth. For people born before 1938, it’s 65. For those born after 1959, it’s 67. If your
birthday falls between 1938 and 1959, your full retirement age is between 65 and 67. (The age for Medicare eligibil- ity is 65, regardless of when you were born.) For more information, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/ retire/retirechart.html.
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