Many people are unaware of what low vision really means. Is it anyone whose vision is below 20/20? Or does it mean being nearsighted or farsighted? Although, these terms do explain vision issues, low vision or partial sight is reserved for those people who are unable to see clearly after all corrections, like glasses, contacts, or surgery. However, it is important to note that low vision is different than being legally blind. Learn why in this week’s blog post, which will touch on what low vision is, it’s causes and available aids. Read on to learn more about low vision!
Low vision is most prevalent in the elderly. It makes daily tasks like reading, watching television, and even recognizing faces difficult. It can render someone incapable of being independent. This can have profound effects on one’s emotional, physical, and psychological states. So what exactly is it? The Canadian National Institute for The Blind (CNIB) explains that partial vision is characterized as having “vision between 20/60 and 20/190.” This means that even with all corrections (glasses, contact lenses, or surgical treatments) a person’s vision has greatly deteriorated or is uncorrectable. So what does legally blind mean? CNIB states, “If the change in vision is to 20/200 or worse, the person will still keep some vision but will be classified as “blind.”
Causes Of Low Vision
There are a number of causes for low vision, other than aging, including injuries or a disease/eye condition. Some such eye diseases and conditions that could result in low vision include having glaucoma, retinopathy, or macular degeneration. However, in general, low vision is due to a change in central vision. In other words, it is caused due to deterioration of the central part of the retina. Patients may experience symptoms which include having tunnel vision, loss of peripheral vision, or blind spots.
Low Vision Aids
Although being partially sighted can change someone’s life dramatically because there are no available treatments, there are; however, partial sight tools available. The first step is seeing your family eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Having a conversation with your optometrist can allow him to assess your specific situation and recommend next steps. Once your vision has been assessed, you may be recommended to use different low vision aids for different tasks, like reading or for watching television. Low vision aids like digital magnifiers and handheld magnifiers aim to make day to day tasks or activities easier through magnification and optics. AllAboutVision.com highlights other options: “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.”
Being able to adapt to having low vision with low vision aids can improve one’s quality of life significantly. It can help someone be more independent and happy by allowing them to enjoy daily activities.
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