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Discussions > Vision Rehabilitation > Activities of Daily Living

Vision Loss in Older Adults Impacts Independence

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By: Mr. Michael Epp

Visual impairment among older adults is a significant health problem. The Centers for Disease Control reports that between now and the year 2020, low vision and blindness will double throughout the United States, increasing to epidemic proportions. A large part of this increase can be attributed to the aging of the U. S. population. More than two-thirds of visually impaired adults are over the age of 65. As of 1999, almost 34 million persons in the United States were 65 years of age or older; that number is also expected to more than double by 2030. As the population of older adults grows larger, the number of people with visual impairment that will significantly impair their ability to complete daily living activities and impact their quality of life will increase. The National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute-sponsored Eye Disease Prevalence Study Group (Archives Ophthalmology, 2004) reports that today, people 80 years of age and older make up only 8 percent of the population. However, this group also comprises 69 percent of all cases of blindness. As today’s baby boomer generation becomes the largest senior group in history, age-related vision loss will correspondingly increase. In older adults, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, with other eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy also contributing to visual impairment. Left untreated, visual impairment leads to physical handicap, increased incidence of falls, depression, social isolation and dependency.

By: Mr. Michael Epp

FOCUS expands services for seniors who are visually impaired. The program called FOCUS, brought to you by Envision, covers the cost of vision rehabilitation services including training in maximizing independence in activities of daily living. Learn more at http://www.envisionus.com/Rehab/Content/FOCUS_expands_services_for_seniors_who_are_visually_impaired.aspx.