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Learn to see better with low vision

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - The Oregon Commission for the Blind offers services for people with low vision, including macular degeneration.

At the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, we know knowledge is power and are continually learning about the effect aging has on the body. The website allaboutvision.com reported on how our eye structure changes as we age and “because of these changes, people in their 60s need three times more ambient light for comfortable reading than those in their 20s.” This is because the muscles that control pupil size weaken with age, causing eyes to be less responsive to light changes.

Our aging eyes are also susceptible to macular degeneration. According to the National Eye Institute, more than two million Americans currently have age-related macular degeneration, and due to the aging of the U.S. population, that number is expected to more than double to 5.4 million by 2050.

The Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) states that one in six Oregonians older than 65 has some visual impairment. The OCB helps those with vision impairment; you don’t have to be completely blind to utilize their free services.

These statistics portend that we will experience a decline in our vision, and that some of us will need more assistant than just corrective lens or brighter lights. We rely heavily on our eyes and as they decline we need to adapt, and learn the best ways to do so. There are tools to help make living with low vision easier, aids to help with reading, and alarm clocks where the time is better displayed.

The LOACC’s human service team has put together a monthly series called Health Chats, with each month’s presentation devoted to a different topic. The topic for the March 23 program is Living Well with Low Vision. It will be taught from 10 a.m. to noon by Kevin Ehrenshaft, a rehabilitation instructor with the OCB’s Rehabilitative Services Program. Kevin will share how OCB can help and demonstrate new adaptive aids to help those with low vision live independently. The class is free, but registration is required.

The lunch menu this week features Santa Fe pork on Friday, March 4; beef stroganoff Monday, March 7; and teriyaki chicken on Wednesday, March 9. Meals are served at the suggested donation of $4 for visitors 60 and older and $5 for everyone else.

The LOACC is located at 505 G Ave., Lake Oswego, OR 97034. A list of activities and support groups can be found on our website, loacc.info, under the Calendar banner. Click on “View the Adult Community Center Calendar” and then the activity for more details. Call 503-635-3758 to register for classes, events, make lunch reservations or schedule a massage.