It is also known as vision impairment or vision loss.
It is a decreased ability to see, for complete or nearly complete vision loss the term blindness is used. A wide range of tools and techniques are available for people with varying degrees of visual impairment. Professionals like mobility specialists are available who are trained to help people with visual impairments to travel independently.
Tools like a white cane with a red tip also help in improving mobility, they help in extending the users touch sensation, some use shorter canes, the use of canes depends on the individual’s extent of impairment.
Guide dogs are also employed by some people for assistance, however they are not very efficient because of the dogs inability to understand difficult directions.
Some people also opt for GPS devices which help in navigation.
Government sometimes makes certain public places more accessible for the visually impaired population.
Many visually impaired people can read magnified print, some read braille, also technologies like screen reader, screen magnifiers help them in using mainstream computer applications
Phonics are helpful for children with low vision, to prevent them from having reading delays. Certain specialists help in communication, social and language development for children having vision impairment.
Treatment is considered keeping in mind the degree of handicap, the cause of visual impairment as well as the possible outcome. If the patient is suffering from diabetes, control of diabetes is important, as the progression of diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy which can result in varying degrees of visual impairment.
If the impairment is due to cataract, surgery can be done, usually an artificial lens is put in the eye as a replacement of the damaged lens.
As previously mentioned magnification systems are also used with the help of suitable lenses, hand magnifiers may also be used.
AMD or age related muscular degeneration is of two main types, the dry type and the wet type, there is no cure available for the dry type, certain therapies are available for the wet type which include photodynamic therapy.
Certain herbal remedies help in improving eyesight, they include:
Amla: It helps maintain overall eye health and preserves eyesight, it also helps in the strengthening of the eye muscles, and soothes the eye if its irritated.
Rose water: It has anti-septic properties, it helps in irritation and redness of the eyes.
Since vision loss can be of varying degrees, certain people need some sort of treatment while others need a different kind of treatment. The main factors that are taken into account before treatment are the age of the patient, and the degree of impairment, general health of the patient also decides the course of the treatment plan. Expectation of a patient from therapy and if the patient is suffering from any other impairment are also decisive factors.
Age is often an important factor in deciding whether or not an individual opts for treatment, since vision degeneration can be of varying degrees, people with a mild form of vision impairment are not eligible for certain surgeries, people who are bed-ridden or are suffering from some life-threatening disease usually don’t qualify for treatment.
Prescribed eye drops may cause stinging, burning, itching of the eyes, they often lead to a temporary cloudy vision, increased sensitivity to light, allergic reactions and blurry vision.
Vision Surgery can often lead to discomfort, glare and sometimes halos are seen around images.
Post treatment guidelines include regular usage of eye drops, if they are prescribed.
It entirely depends on the degree of vison loss, high degree of vision loss is not curable so a person never recovers his sight, people with mild form wear their prescribed glasses or contact lenses, so there is no “recovery time” they can see clearly in just an instant. People undergoing vision surgeries sometimes take 3-6 months to heal completely.
Surgery can cost from Rs 5000 per eye- Rs 10,000 per eye.
For eye-drops the cost lies between Rs 50- Rs 10,000
Vision aids can cost between Rs 100- Rs 20,000
Since more often than not complete vision cannot be restored so the whole treatment is not permanent and lifelong aids might be necessary, for people undergoing LASIK surgery, it can be considered as semi-permanent as often the person does not attain normal vision, and may still have to use glasses.