Vision changes can be a treatment side effect for some individuals. Symptoms may include irritated or dry eyes, tearing, redness, pain and blurred vision. Talking to your health care team about treatment side effects can help you find the information and support you need.
Eye and Vision Concerns
There is no such thing as over-communication and your health care team will want to know about any changes you may experience throughout treatment. You may also want to have an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor) check your eyes to rule out any concerns unrelated to cancer. Some people have other health conditions and take medications that may affect vision, and it’s important to rule out any other factors that might be contributing to changes in your vision.
Seek individual counseling with a professional. You may feel that the challenges of a cancer diagnosis are yours alone to cope with, and perhaps feel the need to withdraw from others. Oncology social workers counsel people affected by cancer and can help you sort through complex emotions and practical issues. CancerCare provides free individual counseling to people with cancer and caregivers across the country.
Consider joining a support group. Support groups are a safe environment where members can relate to each other through a shared, similar experience. Joining a support group can provide valuable information. Members find that sharing resources and coping skills can be highly rewarding, whether they are on the giving or the receiving end of support. CancerCare provides free, professionally led support groups throughout the United States over the telephone and online. CancerCare also offers face-to-face support groups that are offered in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey.
To learn more about CancerCare’s free support services, call 800-813-HOPE (4673) or visit www.cancercare.org.
Eye and Vision Resources
CancerCare’s Online Helping Hand
CancerCare’s Online Helping Hand (www.cancercare.org/helpinghand) is a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance available for people with cancer. This comprehensive online tool features up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering financial help to people with cancer. You can search by diagnosis, zip code and type of assistance.
Foundation for Sight and Sound
The Foundation for Sight and Sound’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for men, women and children with vision and/or hearing impairments. They offer scholarships for high school seniors that are blind and low vision/visually impaired.
Lions Clubs International
Lions Club International provides resources for the blind and hearing impaired worldwide. A local Lions Club in or near your community may sponsor a program that provides assistance for the purchase of eyeglasses, hearing aids, health-related services, scholarships or educational needs. Visit https://directory.lionsclubs.org to locate a local Lions Club.
New Eyes for the Needy
New Eyes for the Needy helps individuals purchase new prescription eyeglasses through a voucher program for children and adults in the United States who cannot afford glasses on their own. Clients must work through a social worker, case worker or agency to submit an application. Applications must be submitted with a copy of a recent eye prescription (applicants must have had their eyes examined within the past 12 months).