Blindness and partial sight is becoming an increasing problem mainly because of an ageing population. As we get older, our senses become dimmed. In fact, 90% of blind and partially sighted people are aged over 60 in Europe. Unfortunately, eyesight is not the only sense that can be a problem. Many older people suffer from hearing loss, too. This makes everyday tasks very difficult and often makes the affected person feel isolated and vulnerable. The issue is often compounded with mobility problems, which just makes everything that much more difficult.
Sight impairment is a great disadvantage to any age group. Although technology can provide many tools to help a visually impaired person, such as voice technology for computers, these are not always available. Sensory impairments are not always visible to others, so help may not be readily at hand. If someone is obviously having problems, then a Good Samaritan will often step in and try to help, but with sensory impairments this is often not the case. It is not that people are less empathetic; it is just that they cannot see the problem.
Thankfully, there are companies that are trying to solve the problems that visually impaired people may encounter. One company is producing tactile guide trails that can be used indoors. While we are used to seeing this kind of trail at road crossings, this innovative idea will allow trails to be laid inside buildings. This gives blind people the opportunity to follow trails in public areas like hospitals or rail stations.
This kind of initiative is one that gives sight-impaired people the confidence to go to public places. Knowing that you will be able to feel when you are near the platform edge in a train station is enormously important, especially if you cannot see well enough to judge distances or see steps. Being able to follow a tactile trail to a reception desk, for instance, enables a visually impaired person to enter a building with confidence. There is nothing worse than standing in the middle of a big reception area and having to ask for help from a passer-by. Many public buildings are disorientating, even to those who can see. In fact, the guide trails will help everyone, not just the visually impaired.
Ask for Information
Losing your sight can be very frightening. You have to face the fact that there are some things you just will not be able to do. Always take the advice of the eye specialist who looks after you and find out about all the support that is available in your local area. If you are elderly, take a family member along with you to your appointments so that they can find out more information for you. There is a lot of help available, and you may be able to get audio information or leaflets in large print so that you do not miss out on anything that is important to you.
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