May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA.
Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health?
How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?
Certain eye diseases and visual problems can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can daily activities such as driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.
Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues.
Vision problems caused by difficulty in using the 2 eyes together as a team can bring on double vision, blurred vision and difficulty reading. This can occur in children who are learning how to read, children that are having school related problems in elementary, middle school, or high school. It can occur in adults who had visual skills, but lost that skill due to an accident, concussion, or other reason that caused them to “decompensate”. Decompensate means that someone was able to function before, but something “triggered” them to lose that skill.
Kids’ Vision and Mental Health
Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.
Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t use their eyes together when reading or have difficulty tracking across a page, that causes stress and feelings of inadequacy. That can then cause self-esteem issues and thoughts that they are not as smart as the others in their class. That can then lead to social issues and difficulty getting along with peers or family members .
Coping with Vision Problems
One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.
Behavioral changes in behavior, such as acting out in class or at home can be a red flag that there is a vision problem at the root of school based issues. At times, that is mis-diagnosed as ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, or other Learning problems. It can bring on loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.
Fortunately, many common vision problems are treatable. Double vision, Hyperopia (farsightedness), Myopia (nearsightedness), Amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be treated, and the underlying problem solved. At times, therapeutic lenses, vision therapy, or special prism glasses can provide the answer to these problems. The specialized services we provide can be the answer you are looking for and can make a significant impact in quality of life for both the individual AND for the entire family, because the problem that affects one individual impacts the whole family.
How You Can Help
Children and adults can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contact lenses, or other specialized lenses. Vision Therapy may be the answer to helping someone develop vision skills for schoolwork. Children on the autism spectrum can then become more available to learning and to their teachers. Vision Therapy is a customized program to help improve visual function an mental processing.
During this Mental Health Awareness Month and can give loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.