Low vision is a condition in which vision is impaired and cannot be entirely corrected using eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications, or even surgical procedures. Significant blurry vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, and legal blindness are characteristics of low vision. An individual with low vision may still have some amount of remaining useful vision but it has deteriorated to the point that they have difficulty performing normal daily activities. These activities may vary with the individual, and include reading the newspaper, recognizing faces, cooking, writing, knitting, or watching television. People with low vision can adapt and learn how to use their remaining vision so they are still able to perform these daily activities.
What causes low vision?
The most common causes of low vision are eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma. Since these eye diseases primarily occur as we age, low vision predominantly affects seniors. Other causes of low vision include trauma, stroke, or brain injury. Low vision can also affect children if they are born with a certain condition or if they inherit a disease such as retinitis pigmentosa.
Can low vision be treated?
While vision that has been lost cannot be restored, many people can make the most of their remaining vision through the use of low vision devices. These devices along with other vision aids help enable an individual maintain their independence. Many of these low vision devices use magnification to assist patients with their daily activities.
- Hand-held magnifiers are one of the most common types of low vision devices. These can provide magnification at normal reading distance. They require the use of one hand to hold the magnifier and are better used for shorter periods of time.
- Stand magnifiers are similar to hand-held magnifiers, but are easier to use for longer periods of time since they are on a fixed base.
- High power spectacles look more like regular reading glasses but require a very short reading distance.
- Telescopic devices can be used for objects further away.
- Video magnifiers come in large as well as small portable sizes which have settings, such as contrast and brightness, customizable to each individual’s needs.
Other low vision aids that can be used include proper task lighting, large-print books and magazines, audio books, and text-reading software.
To determine the most appropriate low vision devices for an individual patient, an evaluation is required. Our low vision specialists are familiar with the different types of low vision devices as well as the many services and resources available to assist patients with low vision. Vantage Eye Care will work with you to find the most suitable devices for you and your lifestyle.