Since we cataract surgery is now so advanced, and effective, many people might assume all diseases that can rob us of sight are as treatable.
In fact, as many as 800,000 Canadians are currently living with eyesight that’s not correctable with glasses, and severe enough to interfere with everyday tasks like reading a prescription label or navigating safely down the street.
But while there’s not yet a way of restoring sight to such individuals, we do have tools — both high- and low-tech — that people can use to adapt to living with limited vision, and to make the most of their remaining eyesight.
You can learn more by reading this health feature I wrote for Good Times in March 2016: ‘Living With Low Vision.’
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise with me for the story:
- Sarah Fraser, PhD, assistant professor and researcher in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. (Please note Dr. Fraser’s first name was incorrect in the print version of the piece — my apologies.)
- Aaron Johnson, PhD, associate professor and chair of psychology at Concordia University and a researcher at the Concordia Vision Lab in Montreal.
- Susan Leat, an optometrist specializing in low vision, and a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ont.
- Alex Mao, an optometrist and head of the Low Vision Clinic at the Ivey Eye Institute, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ont.
- Dr. Samuel Markowitz, director of the Low Vision Rehabilitation Program, and professor of ophthalmology and vision sciences at the University of Toronto, and an ophthalmologist at the University Health Network’s Toronto Western Hospital.
- Sue Marsh-Woods, formerly manager of service and operations for the Toronto-region branch of the CNIB, who is now with Vision Loss Rehabilitation Ontario.
- Olga Overbury, PhD, a low vision researcher, professor in the School of Optometry at the University of Montreal, and adjunct professor in the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at McGill University.
- Tanya Packer, director of the School of Health Administration, and professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS.
- Dr. Yogesh Patodia, who is now a ophthalmology resident at the University of Toronto.
- Ary Tsotras of London, Ont.
- Walter Wittich, PhD, who heads the Wittich Vision Impairment Research Lab at the University of Montreal’s School of Optometry (where he is also an associate professor), and resident researcher at what is now the Lethbridge-Layton-Mckay Rehabilitation Centre.
Image (simulating macular degeneration) courtesy of the (US) National Eye Institute