Coping with Visual Impairments: Tips for Maintaining Positive Mental Health
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 7 million US adults have vision impairment, while another 93 million are at risk for severe loss. As the US population ages, the number of those affected is skyrocketing. Vision loss’ impact on mental and emotional health can be devastating, leading to social isolation and depression. Following certain lifestyle changes can help you stay positive and preserve your vision. Your ophthalmologist may also have some ideas about returning to your normal routine.
Vision Impairment: More than a Physical Concern
Whether partial or total, vision loss can be frightening, as patients deal with grief and depression, much like losing a loved one. Low vision and blindness are associated with a reduced quality of life, and restricted activities, employment, and mobility (physical and practical). They’re also risk factors for anxiety and depression, partially due to a lack of access to pleasurable and social activities.
Staying Mentally Positive with Vision Loss
Embracing healthy coping methods may help you find some level of positivity and enjoy your quality of life. Your regular ophthalmologist may have recommendations about how to safely and securely navigate. Don’t expect to find the ideal strategies immediately, as you may need to decide which works best for you.
Talk it Out
Often, we feel better sharing with other like-minded individuals, like a vision loss support group. This could provide much-needed emotional support and strength, and even a social outlet. You could also take a lifestyle adjustment course, in which an experienced coach or counselor helps you to return to your normal life. It’s important to not withdraw from your family and friends, but instead, let them know what you’re going through. They’ll encourage and support you, as you would with them.
Consider a Service Animal
Adopting a service animal, usually a dog, can help you get around with impaired vision. Aside from their crucial duties, you can also turn to them for emotional support during this difficult time. Service dog ownership resources include The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Leader Dogs for the Blind, and the American Kennel Club.
Work it Out
You should continue engaging in regular physical activity, as it may reduce your risk of developing vision problems, improve mood, and reduce stress. You may also want to practice mind-body techniques, like meditation and mindfulness, to help manage grief and anxiety.
Consume a Vision-Boosting Diet
Specific lifestyle changes can help you to preserve your vision. You may opt to follow the Mediterranean Diet, which is associated with lower AMD rates. Rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, with less dairy and red meat, it provides essential antioxidants.
Finding Positivity with Vision Loss
Dealing with any vision loss can have a dramatic impact on mental and physical health. However, by making specific lifestyle adjustments, you may be able to improve your outlook and return to your normal lifestyle. To schedule an ophthalmologic exam, or for questions, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Retina Group of Florida.