Approximately 1.4 million people age 40 and older are legally blind, and an additional 3 million have a vision impairment, according to The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems study. And these numbers are expected to increase significantly as our population ages and faces the growing impact on vision being caused by our nation’s diabetes epidemic.

Degrees of eye loss

Low vision is defined as vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, medicine, or surgery. And, it may impact a person’s ability to do everything from working, driving, reading or even walking safely around the home. In fact, those with vision impairments are at higher risk of falls and injuries. Vision impairment affects balance and also increases the likelihood of tripping or misjudging stairs, curbs or other uneven surfaces.

“Vision impairment affects balance and also increases the likelihood of tripping or misjudging stairs, curbs or other uneven surfaces.”

An often-overlooked population is those who currently have their sight, but for whom vision impairment is a future potential reality. There are millions of people across our country who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or other potentially blinding conditions. These are people who live with the fear that they may someday lose their sight.

Finding help

These are also individuals who may benefit from learning more about low vision assistance in preparation for a future that may come their way. The more they know about how they might ensure a high quality of life with vision loss, the easier they will be able to handle such challenges should they occur.

It’s vital to provide hope, as well as understanding for adults experiencing vision loss that they are not alone, that other people have come through the experience with their independence and quality of life intact, and that adapting to vision loss is not an overwhelming, impossible task.