Common Visual Disability: Macular Degeneration

Posted on: 25th June 2023

Question

Describe one of the common visual disabilities from the preceding page provided by the Centers for Disease Control. You can choose the condition that is most interesting to you. You may need to do a bit of additional research to learn more about it.

What would be the daily or lived experience of having this condition? What would be difficult? Can it be treated or not?

The declining visual abilities of older adults can pose a serious threat to driving safety. One possibility would be to require regular driving and eye examinations for older adults. However, some older adults feels that requirements like this would be a form of age-related discrimination and unfair treatment. What is your take on this issue? Should examinations be required? Is this reasonable or unfair? Think about this issue as if you are a politician who must decided what is best for everyone

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Solution

 Common Visual Disability: Macular Degeneration

Man with arms outstretched trying to read a book

Image: Age related macular degeneration Source: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/macular-degeneration.html

The declining visual abilities of older adults can pose a serious threat to driving safety. One possibility would be to require regular driving and eye examinations for older adults. However, some older adults feel that requiring them to submit to regular examinations would be an infringement on their independence. Another solution might be to offer voluntary examinations and driver’s education courses specifically for older adults. One common visual disability is known as macular degeneration. This is when the center part of the retina begins to deteriorate, causing one to lose their central vision (Fine et al. 484). This can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as reading and driving. Macular degeneration have no known cure, however, there are treatments that can help to slow down its progression. According to CDC, about 2.7 million Americans age 40 and older have macular degeneration (Colijn et al. 1754) Macular degeneration generally affects older adults. As people age, it is not uncommon for them to begin to lose some of their vision. This is often a gradual process that happens so slowly that it may not be noticeable at first. For some people, however, the loss of vision can be sudden and dramatic. Macular degeneration usually affects both eyes, but it often progresses faster in one eye than the other. In its early stages, macular degeneration may cause no symptoms at all. As the condition progresses, however, symptoms may include blurry or fuzzy vision, trouble seeing objects that are clearly defined, difficulty seeing colors as vividly as before, and a dark or empty area appears in the center of your vision (Colijn et al. 1757)

Macular degeneration is a progressive condition that causes deterioration of the central vision. It makes everyday activities such as reading, driving, and watching television difficult or impossible. According to CDC, macular degeneration have no cure, but treatments are available to slow down its progression. Some people suffering from macular degeneration may be candidates for a form of surgery known as macular translocation, which can improve vision in some cases (Lawrenson and Evans 25). For example, if a person has macular degeneration in their left eye, the surgeon would move the healthy retina from their right eye to the left eye. This would give them better vision in their left eye. Patients with macular degeneration often need to use low vision aids such as magnifiers in order to see better. They may also benefit from special contact lenses or glasses.

I believe that regular driving and eye examinations should be required for older adults. The declining visual abilities of older adults can pose a serious threat to not only their safety but the safety of others on the road. While I understand that some older adults may feel that this is a form of age-related discrimination, I believe that it is a necessary requirement for them to maintain their driving privileges. This is not an unreasonable request, and I believe that it is in the best interest of everyone involved. For example, if an elderly driver were to have an accident, not only would they be putting themselves in danger, but they would also be putting the lives of others at risk. In my opinion, this is simply too great of a risk to take. I believe that requiring regular driving and eye examinations for older adults is the best way to ensure that everyone on the road is safe. 

Works Cited

Colijn, Johanna M., et al. "Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Europe: the past and the future." Ophthalmology 124.12 (2017): 1753-1763.

Fine, Stuart L., et al. "Age-related macular degeneration." New England Journal of Medicine 342.7 (2000): 483-492.

Lawrenson, John G., and Jennifer R. Evans. "Omega 3 fatty acids for preventing or slowing the progression of age‐related macular degeneration." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 4 (2015).

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