There are lots of myths about sight loss. The truth is that sight loss doesn’t respect age, gender or religion. Sight loss can happen to anyone and it can be devastating. It can lead to social isolation, poor physical and mental health, anxiety and depression.
Two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives. Half of this sight loss is avoidable. A sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found soon enough. During a sight test, other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be detected. Regular sight tests are essential for maintaining healthy eyes.
Here, we dispel some of the myths about sight loss – and give you the facts instead.
Myth: A person who is registered blind has no sight at all.
Fact: Most people who are registered blind have some useful vision.
Myth: People with sight loss cannot read.
Fact: Large print, Braille, audio books and other digital technologies are available to assist people to read.
Myth: All blind people read Braille.
Fact: Only a small percentage of people registered blind read Braille.
Myth: Sight loss only affects the elderly.
Fact: Sight loss can affect people of all ages.
Myth: Eating carrots will improve your eyesight.
Fact: Carrots are high in Vitamin A, which is important in a balanced diet. However, eating carrots or other foods high in Vitamin A will not necessarily improve your vision.
Myth: Blind and partially sighted people are unable to work.
Fact: People with sight loss enjoy a wide variety of careers
Myth: It is not harmful to look at the sun if you squint or use dark glasses.
Fact: The sun’s ultra-violet light will still damage your eyes. You should never look directly at the sun.
Myth: Blind people develop their other senses to compensate for their sight loss.
Fact: Some blind people may work hard to develop their other senses to compensate for their vision loss. However this does not happen automatically.
Myth: You need to speak louder when talking to a blind person.
Fact: Blind people have reduced vision not hearing. Talk to them as you would to anyone else – and it’s okay to say ‘Nice to see you’!
Myth: Blind people can always identify you by your voice.
Fact: This is not true. It is always good practice – and good manners – to identify yourself when meeting a blind person.
For more information about eye health and National Eye Health Week go to www.visionmatters.org.uk