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Depression Linked to Vision Loss

Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 07:11 AM
Author: Amit Mathur


Depression and vision loss are both common conditions in older adults. When they coexist, it makes both of them more difficult to treat. It is unclear whether vision loss is the cause of the depression or if the per-existing conditions worsens the situation when eyesight is impaired.

As much as one-third of adults with vision problems have been diagnosed with clinic depression, and that’s not entirely accurate because not everyone gets help when they feel depressed. The stigma against mental illness continues to hold people back from accepting the problem and asking for help.

Furthermore, a study by the National Institute of Health shows that 90% of those with vision loss are also depressed. The more severe of permanent the eye damage is, the more likely they are to feel depressed.

Signs of depression include:

  • Change in appetite
  • Poor mood
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Indecisiveness
  • A desire to be left alone
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in everyday activities
  • Thoughts of suicide

Both depression and vision loss are treatable, but when they co-exist, the patient has a harder time talking about the issues and asking for support. Blindness or eye diseases may be their excuse for feeling depressed, so they don’t feel like the situation needs any attention.

It appears that the key to solving these issues when they occur together is for the ophthalmologist to intervene and suggest help for the patient suffering from depression. When help is given for both conditions the outlook is much better.

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