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What Causes Low Vision?

While commonly associated with seniors over the age of 60, low vision also affects children and adults of all ages. Certain birth defects or medical conditions – regardless of age – can cause low vision and negatively impact the quality of life. Our low vision doctor is here to help patients from all over California with the following low vision diseases, begin to do tasks they want to do again such as read, write, make out faces, and drive.

  • Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of visual loss in the US of people over 60, macular degeneration is a partial or complete loss of central vision while peripheral vision remains intact. The most sensitive part of the back of the eye, known as the macula, becomes damaged. Patients will tell us of difficulty seeing faces, focusing, and doing daily tasks such as driving, reading, or watching TV.
  • Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve due to a buildup of pressure in the eye. Known as the “sneak thief of vision,” this condition will cause a loss of the peripheral vision.
  • This condition is caused by a complication that happens from diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy is considered the leading cause of blindness in the world.
  • Cataracts affect over 24 million people in the US. The naturally clear crystalline lens inside the eye becomes cloudy to the point where vision is impaired. Cataracts often cause glare, reduced acuity, change of color vision and reduced contrast.
  • Juvenile Macular Degeneration, which consists of Stargardt’s Disease, Best Disease, or Juvenile Retinoschisis is an eye disease developed in youth or early adolescents where the macula is damaged in the retina. Those with this eye condition will have issues with central vision, focusing, blurry vision, and seeing in dim lighting.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic eye condition in which the rod cells of the retina cease functioning. This degeneration will cause a loss of peripheral vision, night blindness, and can lead to total loss of vision. Reverse telescope glasses may be able to increase visual field size to improve mobility. Magnification may be useful if central loss is an issue.
  • This is an eye condition where the patient has severe short-sightedness or myopia. The eyeball continues to become more and more elongated causing stretching of the retina. Often, the macula is damaged, causing central vision loss.
  • Albinism causes the central part of the retina, called the macula, to develop improperly. Albinism makes the retina pale, reducing central vision.
  • Stroke-Hemianopsia occurs when the brain is damaged due to a stroke, brain injury, or tumor, vision is often affected. Stroke often causes Hemianopsia, which is decreased or total visual field loss in half of your field of vision.
  • A form of Juvenile Macular Degeneration, Stargardt Disease, also known as fundus flavimaculatus or Stargardt's macular dystrophy (SMD) affects children and young adults.
  • This is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged due to glaucoma, stroke, genetics, autoimmune conditions or any other forms of brain injury. Since this nerve carries impulses to the brain, when it is damaged, there can be central vision and/or peripheral vision loss.
  • This genetic eye condition leaves patients with the inability to see colors, leaving the world in a grayscale of black and white. Achromatopsia causes reduced visual acuity, glare, and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement).
  • This eye condition occurs when there is a small break in the macula. Located in the light-sensitive tissue in the retina, issues with the macula can cause blurriness and distorted vision. This makes it difficult for patients to read, watch TV, drive, and see in sharp detail.
  • Nystagmus is an eye condition that causes involuntary eye movement or shaking of the eyes. Patients will have trouble focusing and issues maintaining balance.
  • Histoplasmosis Retinopathy a disease caused by infected airborne spores. This is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans aged 20-40. Straight lines will appear crooked and blind spots in the vision field will develop.
  • This eye condition affects the innermost layer of the cornea, causing improper amounts of fluid to enter the cornea or front “window” of the eye. Patients will have eye pain, sensitivity to light, difficulty with night vision, and cloudy vision.