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Coping with Vision Loss
Maximizing What You Can See and Do
By Bill Chapman

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Coping With Vision Loss: Maximizing What You Can See and Do

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Coping With Vision Loss: Maximizing What You Can See and Do
By Bill Chapman
Hunter House Publishers, (2001)
ISBN: 0-89793-316-8
Genre: Health, Vision Loss

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 29, 2001

Coping with Vision Loss: Maximizing What You Can See and Do is a reference guide to the eye and eye health, the causes of vision loss, and issues that revolve around vision loss, and it provides a wealth of information on how to adapt to vision loss. This guide was written by Bill Chapman, who is a former Baptist minister. While it does not have any religious content, the text is written with an evangelistic fervor. It proclaims that vision loss does not have to impair your life - you merely have to learn new methods of doing the things that you use to do before your vision loss occurred. Chapman has worked with the visually impaired for more than 30 years and is himself legally blind so he is well suited to write this book, a book in which vision rehabilitation is its cornerstone. Throughout, this book offers its readers support and encouragement. It will help you to better deal with vision loss, no matter how severe.

Coping With Vision Loss begins with an overview of the eye and how we see. Chapman explains what is meant by the terms legal blindness and visual impairment. He explains how a persons visual acuity is measured, and why many tests currently in use do not accurately measure what we can actually see in real life situations, versus how we see in the controlled environment of a doctor's office. Chapman also offers, in laymen's terms, an overview of eye anatomy and a survey of the major causes of vision loss. Conditions covered include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, stargardt's disease, and retinitis pigmentosa. For each condition, Chapman offers a brief overview of its causes, how it is diagnosed, how it is treated, and why these conditions often lead to vision loss.

While the overview of the eye, and the major causes of vision loss are very informative, by far the most important aspects of this book are the sections on dealing with vision loss. These include chapters on such topics as the emotional issues surrounding vision loss, various ways of making the most of your residual sight via techniques such as eccentric viewing and scanning, and several chapters on the various assistive aids that are available. One of the most intriguing chapters is one on the perks of vision loss - something that most people would never even think of. What kind of perks? Chapman mentions such items as talking books, free matter for the blind and handicapped (this enables the blind and handicapped to mail many items for free), and free tuition at some colleges.

The chapters on assistive aids are very extensive and cover a range of items from magnifiers to telescopic glasses, as well as computer aids. Chapman also offers helpful tips on how to handle money, go to school, and tips on driving safely - as well as a discussion on how to decide when it is time to quit driving. This book also includes a list of resources where you can find more information, and assistance, on coping with vision loss.

Coping With Vision Loss is an excellent guide book for anyone suffering from a loss of vision. Not only will it help you learn how to use any vision that you have left, but, by doing so, it will also help increase your self-esteem and independence. As well, by learning coping strategies to deal with your vision loss, you will lead a more fulfilled and satisfying life. As Chapman explains in the epilogue of this book, if you follow the techniques outlined in this book, it will enable you to "...vastly improve your situation." At the very least, this book will enable you to look at vision loss with a positive attitude - and once you have a positive attitude, you will find that anything is possible.

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