Mental Illness on the Rise in the Visually Impaired

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Depression and anxiety impact the daily lives of millions of Americans, heightened this past year by the challenges of dealing with isolation during the pandemic. New studies now indicate that mental health symptoms among those with vision loss are being diagnosed five times higher than the national average.

Hadley, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the nation’s leader in distance and online learning for visually impaired adults from all 50 states and more than 100 countries continue to experience a surge in enrollment for workshops, podcasts, and discussion groups designed to keep those facing vision loss connected to expert help and each other, including workshops, providing practical and emotional help adjusting to vision loss as well as practical tips for those with vision loss on how to use Zoom and access special low vision features on their cell phones and smart devices to stay engaged with family, friends, and other vital resources.

As baby boomers age and face age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, the incidence of vision loss or blindness is expected to double by 2050. Without intervention, older adults who’ve acquired a visual impairment are at high risk of depression or anxiety disorders. Geriatricians and behavioral health experts agree that among this aging population vision loss has risen to the forefront as a public health concern.

Hadley recently launched its new online learning platform,, built on many months of research and development and based on the needs, wants, and desires of visually impaired adults. A highly personalized approach to learning, visitors are invited to create their own personal account and then, after selecting contrast, font color, text sizes, and audio to their liking, are offered different learning avenues, including daily living, learning braille, and using technology, all at no cost and with the help of live Hadley topic experts.

“Vision loss in itself is an isolating condition and can be initially devastating, particularly for older individuals experiencing chronic loneliness living in senior care facilities or without family nearby,” said Julie Tye President and CEO of Hadley. “As more seniors are diagnosed with macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, it’s our goal to ensure that they have the needed resources to empower them to thrive at home, at work, and in their communities.”

Edited by Maryssa Gordon, Senior Editor, Price of Business Digital Network

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