What does Low Vision Mean?
Those with low vision are often referred to as “partially sighted”. Low vision is the loss of sight that is not correctable with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Low vision does not include complete blindness, because there is still some sight. Low vision can be treated or offset with the use of vision aids such as magnifying glasses.
Low vision includes different degrees of sight loss – from having blind spots to almost a complete loss of sight. The American Optometric Association divides low vision into two categories based on the vision in the best eye:
Low Vision Causes:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Other eye diseases and conditions
Low Vision Care is professional care provided by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, optician or a vision rehabilitation professional who specializes in helping visually impaired patients maximize their remaining vision. This care usually involves an evaluation and the use of solutions called low vision aids that include both magnification devices such as magnifiers and non-optical products such as task lighting.
How do you know if low vision services are necessary?
Do you struggle with:
- Reading the newspaper and menus even while wearing glasses?
- Identifying signs, objects in the distance, viewing television?
- Identifying sock types, money or paying bills?
- Things that have glare, Do you have light sensitivity?
- Moving around your home or environment
Low Vision Aids
There is a wide variety of devices that can help people with low vision see better. There are hundreds of different kinds of magnifiers in many different strengths. Some are used to see things that are near, like a newspaper, and others are used for seeing distant objects, like street signs.
It is helpful to think of low vision optical aids as specific tools for specific uses. One device may be used for reading mail, another for watching movies, and yet another for seeing menus at a restaurant. These are not intended as all-purpose aids. Instead, they make it easier to use one’s existing vision for specific tasks, like knitting or watching a football game. Unfortunately, low vision aids do not replace vision that has already deteriorated or has been lost, but they will maximize one’s remaining vision and help one to enjoy favorite activities and hobbies.
Low Vision Aid Types:
- Electronic Reading Aids
- Optical Aids
- Glare Control
- Low Vision Lighting
- Computer Aids
- Daily Living Aids
Southwestern Eye Center takes low vision seriously and aims to help patients with achieving a solid diagnosis and then furthermore getting access to the appropriate low vision aids. We have practices in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, with low vision specialists who are equipped to help you. Call 480-854-8185 to schedule an appointment today.