Visual Impairments

Glaucoma is a disease that causes visual impairment. In the United States it is estimated to affect 3 million Americans, with 120,000 becoming blind due to the condition. Elsewhere in the world where treatment is less available, glaucoma is ranks as one of the leading causes to blindness. Even if people with glaucoma do not become blind, vision can be impaired. I have personally seen the effects of the disease for my grandmother was afflicted with it. She had several surgical procedures with no success.

She was declared legally blind. Glaucoma is defined as a disease of the optic nerve, in which the nerve fibers are injured; usually abnormally increased intraocular pressure. The two primary forms of glaucoma are open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma there are no apparent symptoms or signs until it has done irreversible damage. At first, people may notice visual problems only when light is dim. Sometime there is sensitivity to glare and problems differentiating between varying shades and brightness. In closed-angle glaucoma, the pressure inside the eyes increases.

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Intense pain in the eyebrow area and blurred vision develop usually in one eye and the person often feel like their eye will burst. The eye is red and the person will feel nausea or vomiting will occur. The condition can either be diagnosis by a physician or an eye examiner. A physician can use a tonometry which measures the pressure in the eye. They can use an ophthalmoscope to check the optic nerve. The causes of glaucoma includes the aging process, a deficiency in nitric oxide, genetic factors, nutritional deficiency, toxics, abnormalities in chemicals in the brain, and stress. Once the optic nerve has been damaged, no treatment or procedure can be performed to restore his or her vision. Early diagnosis helps individuals maintain their current vision. The treatments provided todays are drugs and surgery can lessen the severity of the condition only when diagnosis has been made early.

Exercise, a healthy diet, and non-traditional treatment have also been known to lessen the condition. The aging process contribute to the pressure in open-angle glaucoma by decreasing the number of activity of the cells in the trabecular mesh, impairing their ability to drain the aqueous fluid effectively. Special consideration that must be taken is the removal of possible hazards. Possible hazards could include hole or crack in the surface, items on the floor, or unbalance pavement. When an individual vision is impaired, their sense of balance becomes an issue as well. In their living situation, the furniture as well as major appliances should be move further away to allow space for walking.

The individual will no longer drive their car so other preparation must be made such a bus pass, cab, and/or family to escort them. The individual has all normal functions and could perform all of their daily activities. There are no specific movement activities that will help their condition. There is no specific movement activity that will help an individual with glaucoma. I found the research to be an enlightening experience.

Beacon, Dale. 1997. “Glaucoma: Information for Patient.” National Eye Institute Journal. September pg. 44-47. Gregory, Michael. (1993).” Visual Impairment and Glaucoma.” Journal of American Foundation for the Blind. May pg. 16-20. Marks, Edith. (2000). Coping with Glaucoma. New York: Bristen Publishing Trone, Graham E.(2000) Glaucoma: A Patient’s Guide. Champaign:IL Sagamore Publishing. http://webmd.lycos.com/content/article/1680.51321

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