Low vision is a condition characterized by significant visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with traditional eyeglasses, contact lenses, or medical treatments. Individuals with low vision experience a range of visual challenges that impact their daily activities and quality of life. Common causes of low vision include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and other retinal disorders. Unlike blindness, individuals with low vision still retain some level of residual vision, although it is severely impaired.
Low vision refers to a visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or medical or surgical interventions. It is a condition where individuals have significant visual challenges that impact their daily activities and quality of life.
Low vision can be caused by various eye conditions or diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, and other retinal disorders. Some systemic conditions or injuries can also lead to low vision.
Low vision is different from blindness in that individuals with low vision still have some residual vision, although it is significantly impaired. They may have a limited visual field, difficulty with contrast sensitivity, or reduced visual acuity. Blindness, on the other hand, refers to a complete loss of vision or no light perception.
Common symptoms of low vision include blurred or hazy vision, difficulty recognizing faces or reading small print, sensitivity to light and glare, reduced night vision, loss of peripheral vision, and trouble with depth perception.
Low vision is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The examination may include visual acuity testing, assessment of visual field, evaluation of contrast sensitivity, and other specialized tests to determine the extent and nature of the visual impairment.
Low vision care involves a range of services, interventions, and devices designed to help individuals with low vision make the most of their remaining vision. It includes a multidisciplinary approach, with input from optometrists, ophthalmologists, occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, and other professionals.
There are various low vision aids and devices available to assist individuals with low vision. These include magnifiers (handheld, stand-mounted, or electronic), telescopic lenses, reading glasses with high-powered lenses, filters to reduce glare, large-print materials, audio books, screen-reading software, and adaptive technologies for computers and smartphones.
Here are a few tips for living with low vision:
While there is currently no cure for low vision, there are interventions and strategies available to optimize remaining vision and enhance functional abilities. Low vision care professionals can provide recommendations and support tailored to individual needs, enabling individuals with low vision to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.