Low vision

 

Low vision is the term used to describe significant visual impairment that can't be corrected fully with glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery.

The impact of low vision

Vision loss in adults and seniors can be particularly traumatic, leading to frustration and depression. Losing the ability to drive safely, read quickly, watch television or view a computer screen can cause people with low vision to feel shut off from the world. They may be unable to get around town independently or shop for food and other necessities.

Some visually impaired people become very dependent on friends and relatives, while others suffer alone. That's a shame, because many ingenious low vision devices are available to help people overcome vision impairment and live independently.

Children can have low vision due to a birth defect or injury. Visually impaired children may have learning problems that require special instruction and they may need help developing socialisation skills.

Causes of low vision

Eye diseases are a common cause of low vision. For example:

  • Hazy, blurry vision can result from cataracts
  • Blurred or partially obscured central vision is typical of macular degeneration
  • Diabetic retinopathy causes blind spots, blurriness and visual distortions
  • Poor peripheral vision is a hallmark of glaucoma
  • Retinitis pigmentosa reduces peripheral vision and the ability to see in the dark
  • Light sensitivity and loss of contrast are other symptoms of these and other diseases
  • Heredity and eye injuries can result in low vision

 

What to do about low vision

If you have a vision impairment that interferes with your ability to perform everyday activities and enjoy life, your first step is to see a one of our optometrists for a complete eye exam.

Poor vision that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses could be the first sign of a serious eye disease such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa. Or it could mean you are developing a cataract that needs removal. Whatever the case, it's wise to take action before further vision loss occurs.

If your optometrist finds that you have vision loss that cannot be corrected adequately with standard eyewear, medical treatment or surgery, we will help you take the next steps toward coping with your new situation.

Our optometrists can evaluate the degree and type of vision loss you have, prescribe appropriate low vision aids such as lighted handheld magnifiers, digital desktop magnifiers and bioptic telescopes, and help you learn how to use them.

Newer options include handheld digital magnifiers for shopping or eating out, as well as software that simplifies computer use with magnification and text-to-speech features.

Take the first step and make an appointment to see one of our skilled optometrists.

 

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