Low Vision causes many difficulties for those who suffer with it. Driving, participating in hobbies, taking care of the activities of daily life and seeing the faces of loved ones can be challenging if not impossible. Now surveys are showing that those with low vision also suffer from depression at rates higher than those who are blind. This highlights the extreme importance of enhancing sight with innovative medical devices. Not only can low vision be addressed, it must be to improve quality of life and prevent depression in those who suffer with it.
A recent study conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) found that people who suffer with low vision due to age-related eye disease are “…twice as likely to experience depression compared to the blind and five times more likely than sighted individuals.” After tracking patients at a low vision clinic, the NEI found that those with low vision also had a lower quality of life than those who did not suffer with low vision. That’s not surprising given the limitations that low vision can cause and the prognosis that many people receive. Many are told that nothing more can be done to enhance their low vision. We don’t believe that nor do we accept it. Every day we enhance the vision of patients who have been given that message, yet, we enhance their vision with innovative medical devices. The availability and affordability of medical devices to enhance low vision, and assistive devices in transportation, retail and healthcare systems must continue to increase if we are to support those with low vision and address these high rates of depression.
Studies on specific age-related eye diseases have also documented a connection with higher rates of depression. For example:
A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology1 said that people with more severe diabetic retinopathy self-reported more symptoms of depression than those without the disease. It appears that diabetes impairment complicates depression and vice versa. The study of 519 patients with diabetes found that 80 patients (15.4%) showed symptoms of depression and 118 patients (22.7%) shows symptoms of anxiety. According to researchers, this supported their hypothesis that those with a “self-reported history of anxiety or depression, more severe diabetic retinopathy and severe vision impairment were associated with greater depressive symptoms.”
A separate study published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that older adults suffering from irreversible vision loss reported “poorer self-satisfaction and social support, and greater stress.”
All of these scientific findings support the need for increased accessibility to innovative medical devices that enhance low vision. The market offers many different types and so do we. They range from e-sight and CentraSight to NuEyes and the IrisVision. All of these allow those who are legally blind and those who suffer with low vision to participate in activities of daily living, see the faces of their loved ones and in some cases, drive.
IrisVision in collaboration with Samsung developed ground breaking technology for individauls with low vision, and we believe it is a very powerful vision enhancement device. It is also affordable device that costs less than half of the other available vision enhancing technologies on the market. It is wearable technology that incorporates software that makes blurry things in the central field of vision clear, the area that most often deteriorates from macular degeneration.
We know from our daily work, and scientists are continually documenting, that living with low vision is lonely and isolating. It can sideline even the most motivated and optimistic people. We support the scientists who are working tirelessly to open new doors for those with low vision. We have joined with them to develop innovative devices that are affordable and that make seeing and living a full and productive life possible.