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Worldwide there are 285 million people who are visually impaired, 39 million of whom are completely blind.
Rick Shea, the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ (blindness.org) associate director of communication writes, “Back in the 1970s and ’80s, when the Foundation Fighting Blindness was in its formative years, blind people on TV and in movies usually fit the stereotype — dark glasses, a cane, stumbling along the sidewalk. While that one-dimensional portrayal is no longer politically correct, there are still many misconceptions about people who are blind and visually impaired, including just how many there are.
Throughout October, which is Blind Awareness Month, FFB hopes to help put those misconceptions to rest. For instance, worldwide there are 285 million people who are visually impaired, 39 million of whom are completely blind. In fact, the vast majority of the 10 million Americans who have retinal diseases — those affecting the ultra-thin tissue at the back of the eye — have at least some vision. Only it’s progressively getting worse — for some quickly, for others gradually. Some are losing peripheral and night vision, others central vision.
Which is the whole point of Blindness Awareness Month — those affected are individuals, with their own lives, dreams and hopes.”
Cataracts are the leading cause of
So… what is this thing called ‘blindness?’ Healthline.com defines it as the inability to see anything, even light. If you’re partially blind, you have limited vision. For example, you may have blurry vision or the inability to distinguish the shapes of objects. Complete blindness means that you can’t see at all and are in total darkness. Legal blindness refers to vision that’s highly compromised. What a person with healthy eyes can see from 200 feet away a legally blind person can see only from 20 feet away.
Seek medical attention right away if you suddenly lose the ability to see. Have someone bring you to the emergency room for treatment. Don’t wait for your vision to return. Depending on the cause of your blindness, immediate treatment may increase your chances of restoring your vision. Treatment may involve surgery or medication.
Blindness or low vision affects 3.3
million Americans age 40 and over.
This figure is projected to reach 5.5
million by the year 2020.
How can Blindness be prevented? Healthline.com states to detect eye diseases and help prevent vision loss, get regular eye examinations. If you’re diagnosed with certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, treatment with medication can help prevent blindness.
Have your child’s eyes examined at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, and every two years between the ages of 6 and 18 years old to help prevent vision loss. If you notice symptoms of vision loss between routine visits, make an appointment with their eye doctor immediately.
Together we are united in bringing awareness and an educational element for you to have a better understanding of the challenges blind and visually impaired people face each and every day.
Vision Resource Center provides programs and services to blind and visually impaired individuals and their caregivers in Berks County. Our mission is to strive to prevent blindness & visual impairment and to advocate and provide quality education, support services and rehabilitation to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired persons and their caregivers. Our programs focus on helping to create an environment in Berks County in which all people who are blind or visually impaired can be a part of their communities with equal opportunities. Call 610-375-8407 for more information. For up to date low vision and blind related news and information, check out our page on Facebook.