What is Low Vision?
Low vision is loss of vision that’s so severe, even regular glasses, contacts, medicine or surgery can’t correct it. People with low vision find everyday tasks difficult to impossible. Examples include reading, writing, driving or even recognizing faces.
Thankfully, losing vision doesn’t mean losing a normal life. It does means finding new ways to do everyday activities, however. Rehabilitation is prescribed to help patients with low vision to make the most of what sight remains to maintain quality of life.
Causes of low vision range from macular degeneration to glaucoma to diabetic retinopathy to retinitis pigmentosa to eye injuries and more. These conditions can occur at any age but are more common in older people. It’s important to note that normal aging of the eye does not lead to low vision.
Regular medical eye exams are important for diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and conditions that can be helped. Should low vision develop, having these regular eye exams means patients can start the process of low vision rehabilitation quicker.
Common types of low vision include:
- Loss of central vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Night blindness
- Blurred vision
- Hazy vision
Diagnosis and Treatment
Low vision can only be fully diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist. We begin by asking questions about the vision problems you’re experiencing and any family history of eye disease. We also conduct a series of tests to evaluate your vision and detect any presence of injury or disease. The tests often involve a number of instruments, with a variety of different lenses and lights that help us determine the degree of low vision.
The exam gives us all a better idea of how to maximize your remaining vision. While there may be no way to return lost vision, many people with low vision learn new ways to conduct their everyday lives and enjoy their normal activities.