MACULAR DEGENERATION, FAITH AND HOPE
Many people have a vision loss that is not correctable with typical eyeglasses or contact lenses. They’ve lost some vision and are unable to see well enough to participate in activities that are important to them – activities of daily living such as reading, driving, safely walking down a sidewalk and enjoying a sunset. These people are said to have low vision. Eye diseases like macular degeneration, Stargardt’s Disease, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, are among the many causes of low vision. Some people have been told that they are legally blind.
Low Vision Optometrists trained through the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) use telescopic glasses to help improve vision loss. With the use of telescopic glasses, they often are able to improve vision and the lives of those affected with vision loss.
There is a wonderful article in Guidepost magazine of how these glasses worked for a set of twins who suffered from Stargardt’s disease (juvenile macular degeneration) since they were teens. The article “Double Vision” by Karen Young shared the journey that Karen and her twin sister, Sharon had with Stargardt’s disease since they were teenagers.
Their progressive vision loss caused them to change their college and career plans. They remained positive and were sustained by their faith and live very full lives. Both married and have children. A friend told them of a low vision optometrist who prescribed low vision reading glasses. “For the first time in thirty years we could read” says Karen.
As a trained IALVS Optometrist, it is one of the most rewarding experiences to watch someone regain the ability to read a book, watch TV or walk safely down a sidewalk without fear of injury. Low Vision appointments last longer than regular appointments due to the additional time needed to test various telescopic prescription lenses. The glasses are not covered by insurance with costs starting at $500. But, it’s a small price to pay for independence.
These sisters are experiencing a better quality of life and have new goals in mind as a result of their low vision glasses. If you know of someone who suffers from vision loss that isn’t correctable with typical eyeglasses, we may be able to help. To learn more about low vision, visit Tri-State Low Vision – a division of Bissell Eye Care or call 1-855-552-2020.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.