Low vision is present when regular eye care devices (glasses or contact lenses) do not allow you to see or do the things you want. That’s a broad definition but surprisingly it fits in most cases. Typically a low vision patient will have visual acuity between 20/40 to 20/400 although we do help patients with more profound vision loss. Sometimes low vision is called rehabilitative vision care.
Low vision can affect both children and adults, but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which are some of the most common causes of the condition.
Patients with low vision may have complete central or peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, poor low-light vision, loss of light sensitivity and/or loss of contrast, making daily activities such as writing, watching TV, driving or reading difficult or impossible. Dr. Evans prescribes spectacle mounted telescopes, microscopes, E-Scoop lenses, electronic magnification, wearable adaptive technology along with traditional CCTV’s and other low vision devices for patients. He is a member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists as well as a committee member of the Rehabilitative Vision section of the American Academy of Optometry. He has extensive experience at helping patients with low vision.
What are causes of low vision?
- Eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa
- Eye injury or brain injury
How does low vision affect eyesight?
Low vision is partial vision loss which varies from person to person. Depending on the severity and type of vision impairment, the patient may have some useful vision. Typically the impairment includes a significant reduction in visual acuity to worse than 20/40, hazy, blurred vision, blind spots or significant visual field loss and tunnel vision. Sometimes the extent of vision loss is considered to be legal blindness (20/200 or less visual acuity in the better eye) or almost total blindness.
How does low vision affect daily life?
With significant vision loss it can become challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people.
Initially, it is an adjustment to learn how to function with impaired vision but the good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist. Because low vision often results in one’s inability to work, function independently, drive and resume normal life, many patients feel isolated and depressed. By restoring a patient’s ability to drive, watch tv, read and even to recognize who they are talking to we are able to make positive lifestyle and independence changes in the lives of patients and reduce their dependence on family and friends.
Visual Rehabilitation and Visual Aids
Low vision means that a minimal amount of sight remains intact. There are millions of people who suffer from the condition and manage to function with the remaining vision available to them through the use of visual rehabilitation or visual aids.
How to make life with low vision easier
If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. There are over 4.2 million low vision patients out there. We can help. Consult with our eye doctors about the best course of action to take to simplify life with low vision.