Tag Archives: macular degeneration

Blindness Awareness Month

Blindness Awareness Month

It’s Blindness Awareness Month, and blindness affects more people than most realize.

Worldwide, over 285 million people are visually impaired, and over 39 million of those people are completely blind.

The Rate of Blindness

 

10 million Americans have retinal diseases, which affect the tissue at the back of your eye. They can get worse over time.

Retinal Diseases

 

Some people lose peripheral and night vision without losing their central vision. It depends on how retinal diseases affect them.

Losing Types of Vision

 

Retinal diseases include macular degeneration. Many people go blind over time with macular degeneration.

Symptoms of retinal diseases include seeing flecks, blurred vision, poor side vision, or vision lost.

Retinal Disease Symptoms

 

If you’re worried you’re suffering from a retinal disease, your eye doctor can run some tests and talk to you about treatment options.

Tests for Retinal Diseases

 

There are ways to take it easy on your eyes, like having your glasses prescription updated and choosing appliances made for low vision.

Making It Easy for Your Eyes

Balancing Daily Tasks with Dementia

Vantage Point: Summer Activity Opens Eyes, Prompts Compassion

I love all the fun activities that come with summer—festivals, parades, vacations, theme parks, and backyard barbecues. One of my recent summer activities, however, was unlike any I’ve ever done before, and the profound experience will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

I had the opportunity to watch a video of the Virtual Dementia Tour®, compliments of Assured Home Health and Hospice in Moses Lake. The tour gives family members and professional caregivers the chance to experience (as closely as possible) the physical, mental, and emotional challenges people with dementia face every day.

Before the tour, the group takes a short pretest. One of the questions is, “Do you think people with dementia are justified in their actions?” The answer choices are “yes,” “no” and “somewhat.” Most people answer “somewhat.”

After the pretest, the activity alters the participants’ mental and physical abilities when they put on these items.

  • Goggles that restrict their vision, as if they have macular degeneration
  • Headphones with garbled or random background noises, like people with mental disorders experience
  • Gloves with the fingers taped together and with popcorn kernels in the fingertips, and shoes with popcorn kernels in the toes, to represent neuropathy and arthritis

The group then goes to another room. Organizers give participants five everyday tasks, like sorting laundry and setting the table, to complete without help in a certain time frame.

Watching the people go through the experience made me think of being in a carnival maze, where you have a warped sense of bearings, balance, and judgment.

Most participants find the experience eye-opening. Even if they thought they knew what to expect, many didn’t anticipate bursting into tears of frustration or falling on the ground in confusion. Many change their pretest answer about behavior being justified from “somewhat” to “yes” in the post-test.

If you have a loved one with dementia or are a caregiver, I suggest you take the Virtual Dementia Tour. If you live in Grant County and want to sign up for a tour through Assured Home Health and Hospice, please call Julie Johnson at 509-766-2580 or Terri Riley-Brown at 509-765-1856.

ABC’s Nightline featured a powerful story about the Virtual Dementia Tour.  If you don’t take the tour, you can still see what the experience is like by watching this clip.

I hope you make fun memories with family and friends this summer. I also hope you take time to either watch the Nightline clip or sign up for the Virtual Dementia Tour so we can all increase our understanding and compassion for people with dementia.