See and be seen

See and be seen

Age-related eye diseases increase as life expectancy rises and often have a negative impact on the mobility and social satisfaction of the people concerned. Studies estimate that around 1.2 million people with visual impairments or blindness live in germany, half of whom are over 70 years old. Early prevention is therefore very important and is directed at the various disciplines and partners in the healthcare sector.

With the "seeing in old age" project the blind institute foundation and the lowvision foundation want to test for the first time how high the proportion of visually impaired people in senior citizens' facilities is and how they can be supported by comprehensive vision care. Cooperation partners are the caritasverband fur die diozese wurzburg, the universitatsaugenklinik wurzburg, the bayerischer blinden- und sehbehindertenbund e. V. As well as the johann wilhelm klein academy gmbh.

Visual acuity and function
The three-year project is funded with 300,000 euros by the bavarian state ministry of labor and social affairs, family and women's affairs. Other supporters include the "daheim im heim" foundation and the edith muhlschlegel foundation.

In the 20 participating caritas facilities in lower franconia, an interdisciplinary team from the foundation of the institute for the blind and the university eye clinic in wurzburg will be offering free eye examinations for residents starting in june 2013. Also the caritas-haus- st. Elisabeth in kitzingen and the burgerspital in volkach are on board. The experts check the visual acuity as well as the function, advise and, if necessary, refer to external specialists.

In addition, seniors have the opportunity to try out visual aids and other aids. Since an eye disease often also limits mobility and orientation, specially trained rehabilitation teachers are part of the team. They advise patients on how they can find their way around better in everyday life and make recommendations for visually appropriate interior design.

Current fall prevention programs focus on the declining balance and weak muscle strength of older people. The fact that falls can also be caused by failing eyesight is often neglected.

Another special aspect is the diagnosis of eye diseases in people with dementia. Since dementia can be accelerated by impaired vision, a comprehensive diagnosis of eye diseases is very important when dementia sets in.

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