Dr. Guy Eakin: Today I am talking about glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and ultimately blindness.
Now I am going to talk about lifestyle changes that you can implement to help deal with glaucoma. Living and learning to cope with low vision could be very difficult. Those who are visually impaired from glaucoma may feel depressed and isolated, they can become frustrated, because routine tasks may now be hard to accomplish.
The key for the visually impaired is to try taking on challenges and resolving problems without becoming overwhelmed by negative emotions. Ironically, to remain as independent as possible requires a team effort. This team should include not just your family members, but also professionals such as physicians and visual rehabilitation specialist, as well as community volunteers.
There are also many support groups for those with low vision, where members can discuss common issues, their coping strategies and exchange their information and stories. Many companies offer a variety of low vision aids for daily activities. Print and audio materials are available for the visually impaired, some times at little or no cost.
Those with low vision need to openly communicate and ask for help if necessary, but also assert their independence, frank discussions among anyone affected often leads to better understanding. People with low vision can learn to rely more on the sense of touch in many practical ways.
When there is a severe vision loss, using a cane or a walker outdoors allows an individual to use the sense of touch to get more information about the environment. In the bathroom, install grab bars. Put contrasting tape around the edge of the tub. You can use brightly colored tape to mark light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other fixtures.
Use large text when reading, doing puzzles or playing cards. Listen to audio tapes and books on CD and sit a little closer to the TV. With some adjustments, people with low vision can live independently in their own homes, continue to carry out daily activities and take great pleasure in their hobbies. To learn more about glaucoma, check out the other videos in this series, including new advancements in glaucoma research.