Coping strategies for senior citizens with strabismus

Woman with glasses and eye looking outward[The following letter from Donna was recently written on a strabismus support group, and is used here with permission from Donna.]

My mother is 70 years young and had surgery for strabismus at age 18. She has had double vision that can no longer be corrected by prisms (she already has 12.) Sadly, she has had to curtail her driving.

I am looking for advice – How to support her emotionally, especially. Are there any seniors who can share their stories and coping strategies?

I wrote back:

I’m one of the boomers that will turn 60 this year. My children have been wonderful to help. Just knowing you are there and that you care will mean a lot to your mom.

The things I’ve always enjoyed and planned to take into retirement with me some day are mostly things that involve detailed work with my eyes. I am now coming to grips with the fact that there will likely be limits to this. There are probably some things your mother can still see and enjoy though. Photos are easier to see than printed material. Even if you can’t see it well, nature can still be beautiful…a walk in the park, or a trip to the beach may help.

The thing I’ve found most helpful through my life, though, is to use my problems to help others. Here is an excellent example of how one 80 year old woman used her failing vision to help others:
Pointed Patterns

I like the part that says she still made some pillows even though it took her longer. For those with limited vision it may take longer but retired persons have more time so can afford to spend longer to accomplish things. It works out.

Please share your stories and coping strategies, especially you seniors!

Photo credit: Ana Labate

2 thoughts on “Coping strategies for senior citizens with strabismus”

  1. Dear Lois,
    I read the letter you posted about Donna’s 70 y/o mother. I am 37 y/o, and lost the sight in my right eye
    at 31 y/o. I was lucky enough to survive an accidental hand gun injury to my face. But, I had just graduated from a Physician Assistant (PA) program, when the vision loss precluded any future aspirations to perform surgery. I have no depth perception, and so I do not see in 3D. I have learned to judge distance while driving by scanning back and forth, and not tail-gating. My experience as a school bus driver with a CDL helped. But, Donna’s mother can learn to drive with monocular vision if she patched her worse eye. It’s okay to share this and forward. I hope someone can benefit from my experiences and traumas. Everything is relevant, our “disabilities” may not seem so “crippling” when we see a 6 y/o play and go to school despite cancer or confiniment to a wheelchair. And, we can all feel better by helping others less fortunate….. Or, by planting a flower. God Bless, Donna

  2. This is so nice that you care enough to ask for advice in these situations. Its always great to have support from you, but even support from older friends that can somewhat relate to her too.

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