Adjusting to Vision Loss
What is Vision Rehabilitation?
Vision Rehabilitation includes a wide range of professional services that help to maximize the functionality, independence and quality of life of individuals with vision impairment through the use of adaptive tools and techniques.
We understand that each person’s vision impairment affects them differently. In most instances there is an adjustment or an actual grieving process. This is normal.
Below are some common elements that you may be experiencing.The process does not necessarily move in a straight line and some may find that they experience specific components more than once. It is not uncommon for family members to also experience some of these feelings.
Shock and Denial
Following a significant loss, there’s a feeling of disbelief. This is different for everyone.
Once we begin to feel the full impact of the loss, we may express our emotions with tears, sadness or anger.
Depression and Isolation
The feeling of being alone or that no one understands what you’re going through.
You may find that you’re no longer participating in activities that you once loved or spending time with friends and family.
A feeling of inadequacy can lead to panic, as simple tasks are now frustrating and more difficult to accomplish.
Don’t give up, consider a new approach.
Guilt, Regrets or Shame
Some people may feel a sense of guilt. “Why didn’t I go to see a doctor sooner”; “Why didn’t I get a second opinion”.
These normal feelings are often attempts to understand why the loss has occurred.
As we begin to move out of depression, we often have more energy and can express feelings of anger we didn’t know we had.
Anger helps us begin to direct the grief outward, allowing us to move beyond the feeling that “life is not fair”.
Resistance to normal activities
We may resist returning to normal activities, and attempts to do so can be frustrating and stressful.
This is particularly true if we need to make significant life changes.
We now begin to experience periods of hope.
Knowing that there’s help and hope for a promising future by learning new skills and returning to some sense of normalcy in our daily living activities.
We realize we can live in the world again, contribute to our households and communities. We’ve adjusted to our vision loss and don’t allow it to define who we are. The grieving process and its components are different for everyone.
If you find yourself experiencing deep depression due to vision loss, speak with someone. It’s important to understand that each person’s experience is their own. What works for one may not work for another.
Here are some suggestions that may be helpful.
Acknowledge and accept your feelings about your vision loss.
Recognize and identify the successful coping skills you’ve used previously in your life when faced with a challenging situation.
Recognize that you are the same person you were before your vision loss.
Learn from and share with others who’ve experienced vision loss.
Find out about resources and service in your community. Just knowing about them can calm your fears about what might happen in the future if your vision decreases.
Understand that you may need to educate family and friends with regard to your vision loss. Let them know if and how they can help.