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The different types of vision loss and what to do about them
by TeenHelp February 3rd 2019, 01:49 AM

The different types of vision loss and what to do about them
By Hollie (Everglow.)

Vision loss can affect anybody, and chances are either you or somebody you know wears glasses or contact lenses. You may have heard of terms such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, sight impaired, or severely sight impaired (or blind), but a lot of the time these terms can be confusing unless you need to know about them. There are also a wide range of eye conditions that can affect vision, such as diseases like glaucoma and cataracts. This article will explain these terms a little bit more, and hopefully give you a bit more understanding about the types of vision loss.

Short and long-sightedness

When a person is short-sighted, it means that objects that are further away may be blurred or less easy to see. This is a very common form of vision loss and can affect anybody. Most of the time, this can be corrected by using glasses or contact lenses, although it can sometimes be so mild that no correction is needed at all. The same is true for long-sightedness, except in this case, objects closer up may become more out of focus instead. This can also affect people of any age. As a person grows older, they can also lose the ability to shift the focus of their vision between closer and further away objects. This is when reading glasses can be useful.

Sight impaired/Severely sight impaired

In some cases, vision loss can be more serious. For some people, they may use the terms sight impaired, or severely sight impaired to describe this. The requirements for being registered under these titles vary across countries, but they indicate that the vision loss is more substantial than in common long and short-sightedness. People who are severely sight impaired may also use the word ‘blind’ to describe their vision loss, however, it can be misleading as it does not necessarily mean absolute blindness. People may still have some sight or vision in their eyes, and still be considered legally blind. Vision loss is a spectrum, and so there are people who fall somewhere in between sighted and non-sighted. This is where the term 'sight impaired' or 'partially sighted' comes in, as it is used to describe people who have a significant loss of vision, but who are not registered blind.

Eye diseases

As well as common eye conditions, there are various diseases of the eye which can be routinely checked for during regular eye tests, or referrals to doctors if necessary. Glaucoma is one example of a common disease of the eye, where the optic nerve becomes damaged. This is the part of the eye that connects to the brain. Often, this is due to fluid building up in the eye. It is more common in older people, but can affect people of any age and potentially lead to vision loss. Depending on the type of glaucoma, there are plenty of ways to manage the condition, such as drops and laser treatment.

Cataracts are also very common. These can be there from birth, but most often develop in older people. This condition occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in decreased vision. Most often, a quick and easy surgery can correct a lot of the damage done by cataracts by replacing the lens in the eye.

Eye tests

Vision loss is so varied and can affect anybody, so the best way to find out more about the different types and what may affect you is to have regular sight tests! These are usually quick and may take place every 1-2 years, and as well as keeping an eye on your standard of vision, they also monitor the health of your eye too.

Most optometrists will tell you when you are due your next sight test, but some signs that it might be time to make an appointment can be headaches or migraines, light sensitivity, eye fatigue, and difficulty focusing your vision.
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