Each May, the National Eye Institute sponsors Healthy Vision
Month (HVM) to make vision a health priority for the nation. HVM
2005 is dedicated to raising awareness among people with low vision
and their family, friends and caregivers about the benefits of vision
rehabilitation services and adaptive devices. The theme of this
year's observance is "Promoting independence through vision rehabilitation."
With low vision, a person can experience physical, economic and
psychological changes that diminish his or her quality of life.
Low vision can cause difficulty recognizing the faces of friends
and relatives; performing everyday tasks such as reading, cooking
or sewing; picking and matching clothes; and reading street signs,
even with regular glasses or contact lenses. However, through vision
rehabilitation these people can regain some of their independence.
Rehabilitation services are designed to help people make the most
of their remaining vision and enhance their quality of life.
With the aging of the population, vision loss is becoming a major
public health concern in the United States. More than 14 million
Americans currently have low vision, an impairment that cannot
be corrected with standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine or
surgery. Low vision is most prevalent among older Americans. Certain
racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanics/Latinos and African
Americans, are also at an increased risk for low vision.
State and local organizations have been working together to improve
the nation's eye health. For more information, visit the HVM 2005
web site at www.healthyvision2010.org/hvm.