Low vision: Know how to cope with this eye disorder

Our body goes through a lot of changes as we age. Our eyes undergo a lot of changes as well. Glasses or contact lenses can successfully help you manage some of the changes. However, in some cases, the general prescription lenses, surgery or other medical treatment cannot assist in restoring the complete vision. If there is some vision in such a case, then it is termed as low vision.

Some people lose their sight completely. Although most of them who are categorized as blind have some of their sight remaining that can be used. The developments in the rehabilitation of low vision can now help people utilized the remaining vision to improve the way they live their lives.

Low vision: Know how to cope with this eye disorder

What is low vision?

Low vision is defined as the loss of sight that cannot be corrected by glasses, contact lenses and surgery. As the low vision patient has some of the eyesight remaining, the person cannot be considered as blind. The glasses or contact lenses cannot assist a person in performing their daily activities like reading, driving, or shopping. People are usually affected by the age of 65 and are a result of diabetes or glaucoma. Low vision should not be considered with a different condition. If your vision is between:

  • 20/30 to 20/60, it will be categorized as mild vision loss or near-normal vision.
  • 20/70 to 20/160, it will be classified as moderate visual impairment or moderate low vision.
  • 20/200 to 20/400, it will be categorized as severe visual impairment or severe low vision.
  • 20/500 to 20/1,000, it will be classified as profound visual impairment or profound low vision.
  • Less than 20/1,000, it will be categorized as near-total visual impairment or near-total blindness.
  • No light perception will be categorized as total visual impairment or complete blindness.

Related Article: What is Vision Therapy or Vision Training

What are the types of low vision?

The common types of low vision are:

  • Central vision loss: The person is unable to see from the center of their eye.
  • Peripheral or side vision loss: The central vision of the remains intact. The person won’t be able to see through both sides, up and below.
  • Blurred vision: The person won’t be able to see both the objects, near and far clearly and with focus.
  • Hazy vision: A film or a glare seems to cover the entire field of the person’s vision.
  • Night blindness: The ability to see is affected in places that are not lit properly.

What causes the condition?

Low vision is usually the result of eye diseases or injuries. Age also plays an important in the development of the condition as most eye disorders are developed at an age above 45-65. The causes for low vision include:

  • Cataracts, resulting in a hazy and blurred vision.
  • Macular degeneration, causing partially obscured central vision or blurry vision.
  • Blurriness, blind spots and visual distortions caused by diabetic retinopathy.
  • Glaucoma always leads to the loss of poor peripheral vision.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa causes reduction of ability to see in the dark along with the reduced peripheral vision.
  • Low vision can also result from heredity and eye injury.

Low vision: Know how to cope with this eye disorder

Symptoms of low vision

The signs that indicate low vision are:

  • There could be difficulty in recognizing the faces of your family and friends.
  • The problem in performing specific tasks that require looking carefully, such as cooking, crafting, reading, or observing colors.
  • The problem in doing tasks at home as the light seems slightly dimmer.
  • Difficulty in reading the store names, street signs, and bus signs.

Treatment

Some disorders of eyes for example diabetic retinopathy can be treated, and the vision can be restored and maintained. In other cases, it cannot be treated, and people can take the help of visual aids. Some of the products are:

  • Magnifying glasses
  • Light filtering lenses
  • Telescopic glasses
  • Freestanding and handheld magnifiers
  • Video magnification/Closed-circuit television
  • Reading prisms

There are a few non-optical aids like:

  • Check-writing guides
  • Text-reading software
  • Talking clocks and watches
  • Clocks and watches with high contrast
  • Publications with large print
  • Phones, watches, and clocks with large numbers

Lafayette Optometrist, Dr. Durocher, believes that if you have any of these symptoms, you could be having a severe condition. Diagnosing the condition early can help in the success of the treatment and also conserving the remaining vision.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_vision_assessment
  2. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/low-vision
  3. http://opmt.com/low-vision/

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