Thirteen million Americans over the age of 45 battle poor eyesight.
That includes those who have lost vision due to diabetes, macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Eyeglasses or contacts usually do not help this type of vision loss, but a new-patented pair of glasses is helping these patients read again.
In Monday’s Medical Moment, we meet a young teen who is benefiting from the new technology.
Last year, Doctor Adam Esbenshade diagnosed Alexis London with an inoperable brain tumor along her optic pathway.
"If we're not able to stop the growth of this tumor, it will be a life-threatening situation," Dr. Esbenshade says.
Alexis' mom says a year's worth of chemo stopped the growth, but it has not been easy.
"Chemo was a really hard road. And watching her lose her eyesight," Alexis’ mom says.
Alexis says, "My sight is pretty much like 20 percent in this eye and pretty much blind in that eye."
Now new technology is giving Alexis hope. It is special pair of glasses that allows Alexis to do her homework without a magnifying glass.
"It’s a lot easier too-then making it big and everything. I can actually read the small print," Alexis says.
Doctor Jeffrey Sonsino created the low vision readers. LED lights and prism correction help folks who are not helped by traditional lenses.
"This came about because we couldn't get people reading the way we wanted them to," Dr. Sonsino says.
For Alexis, it is just another reason to cheer!
The low vision glasses cost less than $400 and allowed Alexis to return to using textbooks at school, instead of highly enlarged text on her iPad.
TOPIC: Giving Alexis Sight: Low Vision Readers
REPORT: MB #3789
BACKGROUND: According to Vanderbilt University research, 13 million people in the United States have low vision. This includes those who have lost vision due to diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Low vision is when a patient sees 20/50 or worse in the better seeing eye. The National Institutes of Health says millions of Americans lose some of their sight every year, but low vision is most common in those over age 65. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine and surgery may not help with low vision. Which means it may be difficult to read, shop, cook, write or watch television.
SIGNS/SYMPTOMS: Low vision can be caused by eye diseases or health conditions. Some of these conditions may include age-related macular degeneration, cataract diabetes and glaucoma. Eye injuries and birth defects can also cause low vision. According to the National Institutes of Health, the vision cannot be restored. But, proper treatment and vision rehabilitation can help manage the condition. Even with glasses or contacts, low vision can make it difficult to recognize family and friends' faces. Selecting and matching the color of clothes, seeing clearly with the lights on and reading traffic signals or names of stores can also be difficult with low vision. A comprehensive dilated eye exam can help detect low vision. (Source: https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/lowvision/LivingWithLowVisionBooklet.pdf)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Low Vision readers use led lights and prism correction to help people who don't have success with traditional lenses. Researchers at Vanderbilt University say the low vision readers enable patients to perform tasks that were nearly impossible like texting and reading without an oversized magnifying glass. The lighted glasses are relatively inexpensive, less than $400. The devices are typically not covered by insurance but they cost less than a regular set of progressive lenses. Patients can use the lighted glasses instead of relying on enlarged text on iPads. Readers improve near vision for those with vision impairment. This new, patented technology overcomes the main factors which prevent individuals with low vision from reading - poor contrast and lighting, magnification, and prism correction. The combination of these elements provides the ideal conditions for near work such as viewing pictures, sewing, identifying labels, writing checks and reading text. (Source:
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