What does it mean to live with a vision impairment? Having a vision impairment rarely means no vision at all. Individuals living with visual impairments, however, will have decreased vision to the point of making it difficult to engage in work, leisure, or social environments. According to VisAbility (2019), there are four common conditions that cause three quarters of vision impairments in Australians:
- AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION is the leading cause of vision impairment in individuals over 40 in Australia. It is the vision that allows us to see straight ahead which is affected, causing difficulties with reading, writing, looking at detailed objects and the perception of colour in objects. It is common to experience visual distortion and dark or empty spaces in the visual field. There are two types of macular degeneration; dry eye or wet eye, however, dry eye is the most common type. Dry eye age related macular degeneration is the slow loss of vision at the centre of the eye.
- CATARACTS cause clouding of the clear lens of the eye which leads to blurred vision, glare sensitivity, distortion, or double vision.
- DIABETIC RETINOPATHY is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. This damage is caused because of diabetes and creates blurred or blotchy vision, making it challenging to see others faces.
- GLAUCOMA is especially common when there is a family history of eye disease. Glaucoma affects the nerve which connects our eye to the brain, causing a loss of peripheral vision (side vision), blurred vision and difficulties adjusting to darker environments.