Low Vision

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For and how to deal with the condition

What Do We Mean by Low Vision

Low vision refers to a visual impairment that is not correctable through surgery, pharmaceuticals, glasses, or contact lenses. This condition is often characterized by partial sight, such as blurred vision, blind spots or tunnel vision, but also includes legal blindness. Low vision can impact people of all ages, but it is associated primarily with adults over the age of 60. Vision between 20/60 and 20/190 it is called being partially sighted or having low vision. If the change in vision is to 20/200 or worse, the person will still keep some vision but will be classified as “blind” (some people may be classified as blind if their field of vision, or the area that they can see, is less than 20° across–even if their vision is better than 20/200)

Causes

Eye diseases are a common cause of low vision and many eye diseases have no early symptoms. Regular eye exams are important to check for early warning signs of serious eye and other health concerns. Between exams, it is important to let your eye care professional know if you notice any changes in your vision or if your eye is injured in any way.
There are a wide variety of causes of low vision, including:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetes/Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Inherited diseases
  • Eye injury

Symptoms

A thorough eye examination is needed to diagnose causes of low vision. People with low vision may experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of central vision
  • Night blindness
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Hazy vision

Treatment

Low vision cannot be fully corrected. However, there are a wide array of devices to help people with low vision, including tinted eyewear to help with light sensitivity and contrast, magnifiers (hand held and for digital or computer use), and large-print reading materials or audio recordings.

There are certain eye care professionals who specialize in rehabilitation for low vision, who can help you continue many of your normal activities with some modifications. Ask your eye care professional if this may help you.

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