What is a visual impairment?
As a visual impairment is considered a more or less intense impairment of vision or the ability of visual perception.
A visual impairment usually lasts for a lifetime without treatment and is based on the most diverse functional limitations of the eye as well as the vision of involved nerves. In this context, visual impairment is manifested as blindness or as partial loss of sight.
Partial visual impairment can still be visual stimuli, so that the quality of life of those affected in these cases is limited, but higher than a blind person. Healing chances for visual impairment depend on the respective causes and triggers.
The causes that can lead to visual impairment include various aspects. These relate to diseases of the eye, brain or nerves, which may have organic or functional impairments.
This helps people to "see badly". Typical causes of visual impairment are damage to the retina caused by existing diabetes mellitus and persistently high levels of sugar, macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts. A visual impairment can also be a sequelae of stroke, tumor growth or injury to the skull, including the brain.
Turbidity of the lens of the eye (cataract), damage to the optic nerve due to abnormal intraocular pressure (glaucoma), or degeneration of the retina cause most frequent visual impairment. Diabetic retinopathy also has a prophylactic role in visual impairment.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
A visual impairment is always seen as a limitation of vision - either generally or in certain situations. In addition, the restriction may increase over time. The symptoms of visual impairment are relatively visible. It may also come in an already existing visual impairment, such as myopia, to the occurrence of another visual impairment. The symptoms are thus always in a worsening of the current vision.
For example, it can lead to an occurrence of short-sightedness or farsightedness, which manifests itself above all in the fact that the point of the sharpest vision shifts. Thus, either near or far objects can no longer be seen sharply. Both states usually worsen with time in addition. Myopia often occurs during childhood.
Other forms of visual impairment include, for example, night blindness or problems with color vision. It can be distinguished between color vision weaknesses and complete color blindness. The most serious visual impairment is an occurring blindness that can either be acute or develop as a result of illness.
Furthermore, all restrictions of the field of vision also apply as visual impairment. For example, it can lead to visual field reductions, visual disturbances or irritation processing problems. In all cases, the eyesight of the affected person is limited by various confounding factors.
Diagnosis & History
The forms of visual impairment are always determined by the causative triggers. Basically, sufferers suffer less from pain, but rather from a decrease in vision (sharpness) or under a limitation of the face or field of vision.
In some cases, visual impairment or blindness is already innate. If left untreated, visual impairment may worsen vision.
The diagnosis of the visual impairment includes the description of the impairments by the patients as well as special abnormalities. These are, for example, headache, watery eyes, disguised vision and other peculiarities.
In addition, a screening examination, an assessment of the visual field, the measurement of the intraocular pressure, the so-called fundus and Skiascopy serve as proven classical diagnostic and differential diagnostic approaches to visual impairment.
Of course, a visual impairment can be of varying degrees of severity, so that possible complications can be very different. Assuming a complete visual impairment, the affected person is of course very limited in everyday life. If there is complete visual impairment, there is often considerable disorientation, dizziness, and prolonged nausea.
People who have been suffering from visual impairment for a short time first have to learn how to handle it. The simplest things suddenly become a great challenge, so that it can also lead to psychological problems and stress. Of course, visual impairment can be sudden and unexpected.
Persons suffering from a sudden visual impairment are overwhelmed in the first time considerably with the overall situation. In some cases, visual impairment is caused due to infection in the eye, which of course is also associated with various complications. It can lead to excessive pus production, so that the eye sticks and the vision is severely impaired.
If such a disease remains untreated, further complications may occur. Increased pus production and long-lasting headaches are possible side effects that may increase in the event of non-treatment.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of a visual impairment, a doctor should always be consulted. There is no self-healing and the symptoms usually worsen if no treatment is initiated. Only through proper diagnosis and treatment of visual impairment can further complications or in the worst case complete blindness be prevented. A doctor should be consulted if the person suffering from visual impairment. These usually occur for no particular reason and do not disappear again by themselves. This may be a poor vision, foggy vision or squinting. Also, a doctor should be consulted with a color blindness, as this usually does not disappear again by itself.
In case of visual impairment, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. Visually impaired people are not always treated, so in some cases people are dependent on visual aids for life.
Treatment & Therapy
The selection of the correct therapeutic method is determined by various factors that are to be considered in the case of visual impairment.
Within the entire therapy of visual impairment, there are optimal conditions to find suitable tools. These are the glasses or the contact lens to reduce visual impairment. In the case of green or cataract, predominantly surgical interventions against visual impairment are considered. For so-called retinopathy of prematures, laser therapy makes sense. Detected tumors are treated with radiation or chemotherapy in the event of vision impairment.
An increase in vision in a visual impairment can be realized on the basis of a so-called occlusion therapy. In addition, visual impairment can be treated to some extent by correcting astigmatism.
Corneal Implants Retinal lasers have become commonplace today as a therapy for vision impairment. High-grade visual impairments can usually no longer be treated adequately, because the deterioration of the eyesight has already progressed too far.
Prevention of acquired visual impairment is based on regular eye examinations. Diabetics should pay attention to a visually impaired adjustment of the blood sugar level and have their eyes checked regularly.
Also important are mechanisms that can be integrated into everyday life to protect the eyes and prevent visual impairment. Workplaces with anti-glare screens, optimal light for the eyes, wearing sun glasses and goggles, the right distance to read and reducing stressors in everyday life are helpful in order not to suffer from visual impairment.
In principle, however, not all visual impairments can be prevented. For example, some visual impairments are triggered by advancing age.
In many cases, the measures of aftercare for a visual impairment are severely limited, and in some cases they are not even available to the person concerned. Therefore, the person should ideally, even at the first signs and symptoms of these diseases consult a doctor so that it does not come to other complaints or complications.
A self-healing can not usually occur in the case of a visual impairment. Some of the complaints can be relieved and treated relatively well with a visual aid. However, the person concerned should be careful to always wear and use these visual aids regularly, as otherwise the vision can be reduced again.
However, the further course of the visual impairment is very much dependent on the exact nature and the form, so that a general course can not be predicted. In serious cases, those affected may need help and care from relatives and friends. Thus, the everyday life of the person affected can be significantly relieved. A visual impairment usually does not reduce the life expectancy of the person concerned, and a general prediction can not be made here.
You can do that yourself
The visual impairment is of course primarily provided by the treating ophthalmologist and the optician. Nevertheless, the self-help in everyday life is a high priority, especially if the visual disturbance is massive. Self-help groups, doctors and opticians are valuable contact points to get tips for self-help. The exchange of like-minded people with the same problems plays an essential role. Self-help groups are also often superior to medical facilities because of the regularity of their visits and the information they provide.
Visual disturbances can be well compensated by a magnifying glass, especially in small print if necessary. The magnifying glass at home can always be ready to hand. In supermarkets, magnifying glasses are often attached to the shopping trolleys and allow you to read the prices and the information that appears on a pack.
With the computer, the font can be set larger in no time, so that reading small letters need not be expected visually impaired. For children and adolescents whose visual impairment has only just been discovered, ophthalmologists offer sight schools that can bring good results. In addition, it is important to treat the eyes from time to time and take a break. Constant work on the screen is interrupted again and again and when driving, it takes the break to give tired eyes rest again.