We need to know a lot about patients with visual impairment so we can give them the best dental care that they deserve. “More than 20 million Americans report having loss of vision including trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Two percent of people with severe visual impairments are under 18 years of age. The majority of those who are blind lose vision after age 20.”(Mahoney,2008) Limitations of sight cover a large spectrum from people with slight vision problems to people with complete loss of vision. “In many persons, blindness is secondary to a primary condition that may have been the cause of the blindness and in itself may be disabling.” (Wilkins) When having a loss of one of your senses, your other senses become stronger. There are many accommodations you can make to help a patient with disabilities feel comfortable. Watching the tone of your voice when talking to a visually impaired patient is important, they can’t see facial expressions so the tone of your voice is what they have to go off of. Making sure there is a clear path in the dental office is important. You can move the bracket tray and other things out of there way so they can easily get in and out of the dental chair. When guiding your patient, you want to gently hold onto their arm without pulling or pushing them. If they have a guide dog you should not distract the dog by playing or patting it and you should ask your patient the best place to have the dog during their appointment. If a visibly impaired patient has glasses you should ask them if they would like to keep them on during the visit and if they do not, they might like dark sun glasses so you’re not shining the light into their eyes. Vision impairment does not have a direct effect on the person’s oral health but “they may not detect dental disease symptoms at an early stage that are typically recognized through vision. Incidents of dental disease may be greater due to poor oral self-care because the patient...
Cited: Mahoney, E. K., Kumar, N., & Porter, S. R. (2008). Effect of visual impairment upon oral health care: a review. British Dental Journal. doi:10.1038/bdj.2008.2
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