The book is divided into seven parts: In part I (“Basic Positions”), Barbara Silverstone from the U.S. and John Cook from Australia describe their view on what it does mean to suffer from visual impairment in the later years (Silverstone) as well as the need for “new beginnings” (Cook). In Part II (“Epidemiology and Medical-ophthalmological Research”), emphasis is put on the epidemiology of age-related vision impairment and research concerned with age-related macular degeneration as the most common cause for the loss of central vision in the elderly. Part III (“Psychosocial Issues and Daily Living Skills in Different Settings - Empirical and Conceptual Contributions”) addresses the whole gamut of day-to-day challenges and coping efforts of those affected by a severe loss of vision. Part IV (“Intervention and Rehabilitation - Empirical and Conceptual Contributions”) provides the reader with a state-of-the-art overview of rehabilitation and intervention techniques currently available in order to support visually impaired elders. Part V (“Educational Issues - Programs, Media, Self-help and New Technologies”) explores the potential of a diversity of traditional and new means toward supporting educational processes. Part VI (“Learning from Each Other in an International Perspective”) highlights the need of the broad sharing of best practice models. Finally, Part VII (“Look into the Future”) offers a three-fold view of what is lying ahead of us in the field - in terms of the future of the science of ophthalmology (Robert A. Weale), new media and so-called new technologies (Heidrun Mollenkopf) and the important WHO initiative “Vision 2020 - The Right to Sight” (Allen Foster).
It is the hope of the editors of this book that it will stimulate new research in a variety of domains ranging from basic biology-oriented studies on the etiology of eye diseases to psychosocial and educational issues on the social and behavioural level. Also, associations serving blind and partially sighted older people, associations of older people in general, self-help groups, as well as professionals in the fields should be encouraged by this book to focus their efforts still stronger on available rehabilitation potentials and to acknowledge the fact that old age and visual impairment does not prevent from living a “good” life in the later years of the life-span