With Vision Health Month in Canada nearing conclusion, there is a need to keep the conversation going about false narratives surrounding vision loss and older adults.
Although older adults are at an increased risk for many of the leading causes for impaired eyesight, it is not true that complete loss of vision is inevitable. For Dr. Tiziano Melchiorre, IFA Expert Member and Secretary General of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), it is imperative that messages target the right at-risk populations so that preventative methods reach their full potential. For older adults who are diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition such as glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy, access to the best available treatments is key.
A diagnosis which may lead to blindness can be especially devastating for older adults, as treatment options are often not fully discussed. In a recent article from the Chicago Tribune, Neva Fairchild, ageing specialist and representative of the American Foundation for the Blind says: “A lot of older adults don’t even understand what’s happening with their vision loss, and they might be thinking they’ll go totally blind, which is often not the case [..] We hear from people who say, ‘my doctor told me nothing more can be done.’’
A need for a better understanding of vision loss is part of what inspired the founder of the Hadley Institute to create an establishment where those suffering from vision health disorders could participate in ‘’educational courses and other support services free of charge to anyone with a visual impairment, as well as their families and professionals.’’
Conversations surrounding patient education should be a focal point not only during Vision Health Month, but all year long. The IFA serves to empower patients to have access to the latest and most effective treatments for vision loss, learn more here.
Dr. Tiziano Melchiorre
Prevention of Blindness
Low Vision Rehabilitation
Prof. Sarah Harper
Global Population Ageing
Mr. Bjarne Hastrup
Women's and Children's Health
Dr. Jean-Pierre Michel
Vaccines 4 Life Program
Public Palliative Medicine