Visual Impairment – What it is, Causes and Difficulties

Visual impairment or loss of vision is partial or total impairment of vision. Several people develop some type of visual problem at a certain point in their lives.

Some are no longer able to see distant objects, others have trouble reading small print, but these conditions are easily dealt with . Visual impairment occurs when one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images are damaged.

In these cases, vision cannot be fully restored with usual medical treatment, such as glasses, corrective lenses, or even surgery.

Causes of Visual Impairment?

Visual impairment rarely affects vision during adolescence. When this happens, it is usually due to eye damage or brain failure that you are unable to receive the visual signals sent by the eyes.

The underlying diseases can also cause visual impairment. The most common cause is diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration , cataract formation and high pressure in the eyes leading to glaucoma.

Some babies have congenital blindness , which means that they have visual impairment since birth. Congenital blindness can be caused by a number of factors – it can be inherited, for example, or caused by an infection (such as measles ) that is transmitted from the mother to the developing baby during pregnancy.

Conditions that can cause vision loss include:

Amblyopia

It is reduced vision in an eye caused by the lack of use of that eye in early childhood. Some conditions cause a child’s eyes to send different messages to the brain (for example, one eye may focus better than the other).

The brain can then shut down or suppress images of the weaker eye, and the vision in that eye then stops developing normally. This is also known as a “lazy eye”.

Strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes) is a common cause of amblyopia, as the brain begins to ignore messages sent by the misaligned eye.

Waterfall

It is the partial or total opacity of the lens. The lens is a natural lens of the eye located behind the pupil. It helps with the entry of light rays to form the image in the retina, so any change in its constitution affects sharp vision .

Cataracts prevent light from easily passing through the lens and this causes loss of vision. It usually forms slowly and usually affects people in their 60s and 70s, but sometimes babies are born with congenital cataracts .

Diabetic retinopathy

It occurs when the small blood vessels in the retina are damaged due to diabetes . People with retinopathy may not have trouble seeing at first. But if the condition worsens, they can go blind. Adolescents who have diabetes should be sure to have regular eye exams as there are no early warning signs for this condition.

Glaucoma

It is an increase in pressure inside the eye. The increased pressure impairs vision by damaging the optic nerve . Glaucoma is seen mainly in older adults, although babies can be born with the condition and children and teenagers can sometimes develop as well.

Macular Degeneration

It is a progressive deterioration of the macula , the most sensitive region of the retina. The condition leads to progressive loss of central vision (the ability to see fine details directly in front).

Macular degeneration is often age-related (occurs in older people, especially those over 60), but can sometimes occur in younger people.

Excessive exposure to sunlight and smoking can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Symptoms may include increasing difficulty in reading or watching television, or distorted vision where straight lines appear wavy or objects appear larger or smaller than normal.

Trachoma

It occurs when a very contagious microorganism called Chlamydia trachomatis causes inflammation in the eye. It is often found in rural environments with or in places with limited access to water and sanitation.

How Diagnosis of Visual Impairment is Done

Visual impairment is detected by the ophthalmologist , who will examine the structure of the eyes.

Other simple tests that can be performed in the diagnosis of visual impairment include:

  • Visual acuity test – Read lines of letters whose size decreases and which are hung at a standardized distance from the person to be tested.
  • Visual field test – Evaluates, with high precision, flaws in the patient’s central and peripheral field of vision, detecting areas without vision that can be caused by different pathologies.
  • Tonometry test – This test determines the pressure of the fluid inside the eye to assess glaucoma.

Treatment

If the doctor determines that there is a condition in the eye that is susceptible to the development of visual impairment, some treatments are available. The options may include eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye drops or other medicines. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Cataracts, for example, are often treated by removing the opaque lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (made of artificial plastic that does not require special care and thus restores vision).

Other methods can compensate for vision loss. Guide dogs can help people to get from place to place independently.

Braille allows visually impaired people to read and write. Special equipment such as computers, such as microscopic and telescopic glasses, and voice recognition software, make school and homework easier.

Visual Impairment at School

Visual impairment interferes with the functioning of a regular school program or, for children of preschool age, with learning tasks. Federal Law No. 7,853 / 99 officially defines the condition as follows: “a deficiency in the vision that, even with the correction, negatively affects the child’s educational performance.”

Although the causes vary, there are several common signs that can indicate that a child has a visual impairment. These include:

  • Irregular eye movements (for example, eyes that don’t move together or that look out of focus)
  • Unusual habits (like covering an eye or rubbing your eyes frequently)
  • Sit too close to the television or hold a book too close to your face
  • Do not copy the activities of the board, or copy them in an unreadable way

Educational Challenges

The child who has a visual impairment has Decree 6,571, of September 17, 2008, which says that “the State has a duty to provide technical and financial support so that specialized care is present in the entire public health system. teaching”.

But it is up to the school manager and the Education Secretariats to administer and request the resources for this purpose. ”

Intelligence does not need vision; therefore, overcoming educational challenges is vital to enable a visually impaired student to reach their full academic potential. These challenges may involve:

  • Getting around safely inside the classroom
  • Reading in Braille (Braille literacy for children with total blindness or severe degrees of visual impairment is simultaneous with the normal literacy process)
  • Use educational tools such as calculators and sound word processing software

Tips for Schools

Children with visual impairments need school inclusion , but in order for them to be successful, it is important to offer adapted environments, tactile flooring, unobstructed corridors, Braille signage and stairs with color contrasts on the steps.

The school’s surroundings must also be accessible, with the installation of audible signals at traffic lights and in the vehicle exit areas close to the school. These are important measures that respect the condition of the visually impaired.

See also: Braille – The Words at the Fingertips

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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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