February is Low Vision and Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month
Baby It’s Cold Outside!
The 2014 North American cold wave has certainly left its mark on the country. Record low temperatures and headlining snowstorms have made it miserable – and dangerous – to be outside. And for those with low vision, icy conditions can be particularly challenging while walking or driving.
Low vision issues like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration often impact adults’ visual acuity, including contrast sensitivity and depth perception. When combined with icy weather, vision problems can lead to serious falls and life-threatening injury.
To prevent such occurrences, take extra care to assess your environment and stay indoors during precipitation like freezing rain and snow. Be sure to utilize various low vision devices and aides to maximize your remaining vision and restore some form of visual perception. Consider the following products to help you with vision tasks while indoors and out:
• Hand held magnifiers
• Stand magnifiers
• Spectacle magnifiers
• All terrain canes
• Weather alert radios
• Low vision window pane thermometers
And don’t forget – beyond causing falls, ice and snow are dangerous to your eyes! Fresh snow reflects 85% of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, so shoveling snow or simply looking at it while walking can increase your UV exposure.
UV radiation can progress long-term vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, and can cause temporary but painful snow-blindness in the winter. Fortunately, UV eye damage can be prevented by simply wearing UV-protective sunglasses. For adults with low vision, talk with your eye doctor about your prescription sunglass options.
Remember, taking extra eye health precautions in the winter can help you avoid falls and other weather-related injury.