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    Entries in Stages of Grief (1)

    Sunday
    Oct102010

    Coping with Vision Loss

    Patients who lose their vision in both eyes go through the Stages of Grief just like someone who has lost a loved one. Losing your eyesight is an emotional process where one must grieve the loss as well as overcome the anger and depression that happens at later stages.

    Stage 1: Denial

    Many patients deny that they are losing their vision or that their vision is getting worse. They may not seek treatment becasue they are in denial that their is a problem with their eyes. Unfortunately, waiting is the worst thing thing one with vision problems can do. Early treatment may mean less vision loss and a better prognosis long term.

    Stage 2: Anger

    The next stage is anger. Patients who lose their eyesight can often become very angry about their vision loss especially when they realize that the loss is going to be permanent. They realize the difficulty in performing many of their activities of daily living. They may have difficulty reading, watching television, driving, and working. The patient will become frustated and angry at their situation. they may lash out at their family and others who question them about their eyesight and how they are doing.

    Stage 3: Bargaining

    In this stage, the patient is realizing that the vision loss is going to casue them to change their life. They begin to bargain with theior beliefs. They may seek help from numerous sources if their is anything that one can be doen to help reverse the condition.

    Stage 4: Depression

    All patients go through a depression becasue of their vision loss. There are feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness if they are unable to work or provide for their family. Older patients feel teh isolation associated with the vision loss and being unable to drive and being forced to rely on others to help take them places and read their mail and pay their bills. The depression can be mild to severe. Some may require treatment for the depression they are experiencing. The depression stage can last for a long period of time, but once they realize that they can still function with the use of low vision aids then it usually lifts their outlook and the depression begins to lift. Low vision care is important in helping a patient understand that they can do things they enjoy,  but may have to do it in a different way and with the use od low vision devices to help them. Also seeking out others with their condition and support groups are a great way to see how others have overcome the vision loss.

    Stage 5: Acceptance

    The final stage is the acceptance of the condition and that the loss is not going to get better. They begin to accept that they will need to do things differently in order to overcome the loss. Low vision care is important in improving the patient's quality of life.

    Family members need to understand that vision loss is like losing a spouse or a child. It is dramatic and emotional. The loss causes grief and also the whole Stages of Grief that we see after someone has lost a person close to them. In the beginning, the denial, anger and depression can debilitate their loved one more than the loss itself. Family members should provide comfort ans support to help work their loved one thorugh this period of time. Help them seek low vision care so they can begin to overcome the loss.