This page details some additional issues you may come across with newly diagnosed vision loss. It includes a number of things our clients have told us have been helpful in these situations.
Our clients with vision loss tell us they experience the following problems:
- meeting and talking with people
- telling people about their eye condition
- understanding why they can see certain things at times and not at others
- other people misunderstanding or not seeming to provide the support they want.
Socially interacting with people can be difficult when you cannot easily see facial expressions, know when you are being spoken to and by whom, or recognise somebody waving from across the street.
Often people find it difficult to maintain eye contact in social situations. If you are unable to see the person's face clearly it can be useful to be directed by the voice, to try and gauge where the person's mouth is and aim to look just above this.
Listening to the tone of voice can give you an indication of how that person is feeling and asking people to address you by name can all help in these situations.
Telling people about your vision loss
Telling people about your vision loss can be difficult to do particularly when it is still new for you or you don't quite understand it yet yourself.
If you are finding it difficult to recognise people when you are out and you are concerned your friends and neighbours may think you are ignoring them, it may be worth considering the benefits of telling them that you have a vision impairment. Once people have taken this step they usually feel more comfortable and have found others to be more considerate towards them.
Understanding your vision loss
Knowing the part of the eye that has been affected and why you can see some things at some times and not at others can help to identify the tasks you may find difficult and prompt you to think of alternative ways of doing things. This information is available from Vision Australia.
You may have also noticed fluctuations in your vision at different times of the day. If you are feeling tired, anxious or unwell these can all affect your vision, as well as environmental factors such as the weather and the lighting in your home.
Understanding your eye condition can help you to know when you can rely on your vision to do certain things and when another solution may be necessary.
This can give you back your ability to make choices about your situation which can reduce the effect of feeling a loss of control over what has happened to you.
As you have grown up you have probably all heard stories about avoiding straining your eyes for fear of harming vision. However pursuing your former activities such as reading, watching T. V. and sewing is not harmful. Many of these issues will be discussed during a Low Vision Assessment.
Often there can be disappointment and confusion with the people who are closest to you where they are unable to appreciate how this is affecting you, particularly when there is partial vision loss which prevents you seeing some things and not others.
Someone to talk to
People often say that in the beginning they felt that they were the only one going through something like this. It can be helpful to meet other people who are experiencing or have experienced similar vision problems.
At Vision Australia we are able to put you in touch with other people who are experiencing similar problems. We can do this in several ways – group or individual settings, face to face or via the telephone.
There may also be somebody you know who has gone through a similar experience themselves whom you would feel comfortable enough to talk to.
We can also provide further information on the range of Vision Australia services, welfare benefits and assistance available in your local community.
Sometimes people with vision loss experience symptoms of depression. These symptoms can include prolonged uncharacteristic low mood, reduced interest in activities, tiredness, sleeplessness, negative thoughts and feelings of isolation.
Research tells us there is a strong link between depression and chronic illnesses such as vision loss. If you think you may have some of these symptoms – please talk to us at Vision Australia about getting help to manage the emotional impact of your vision loss.
Talk to us
So, we have just been discussing some of the many ways vision loss can affect people, common areas of difficulty and a few suggestions on how these can be overcome.
Everybody's needs are different and you will have your own way of coping with this.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this information, or should you wish to spend some time discussing any emotional or social concerns about managing vision loss, please contact us or make a referral.