What is Low Vision?
Low vision is a term used when a person’s remaining vision is impaired enough to interfere with daily activities. Understanding low vision can’t be corrected with ordinary glasses, surgery or medication is the first step to understanding how difficult it can be for people who suffer from it..
Low vision affects millions of people of all ages, but it’s more common in older people, who are more likely to have one of the conditions that decrease vision. The major cause of low vision is macular degeneration, an age-related disease that affects the macula. The macula is part of the eye’s retina that allows you to look directly at something and see it clearly. Other common causes of low vision are glaucoma, cataracts, stroke and diabetes. Low vision can affect children and young adults with genetic eye disease and adults who have diseases that affect the eyes.
Common Low Vision Problems
Depending on the cause of low vision, it may lead to:
- Trouble seeing things at the center of vision (central vision)
- Trouble seeing things at the sides of vision (peripheral vision)
- Difficulty telling the difference between similarly colored objects
- Problems with depth perception
- Inability to see in either dim or bright light
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Distorted or wavy vision
Understanding low vision affects every person differently, for one person, it may make reading difficult, for another, driving may be impossible, and for someone else, working in the kitchen may be a problem. Others may have trouble with writing, shopping, recognizing faces and colors, or seeing the computer or television screen clearly.
What To Do About Low Vision
Depending on the condition causing low vision, treatments may help preserve existing vision and, if started early enough, recover some lost vision. Also, with the help of low vision rehabilitation and the use of certain strategies and tools, there are ways to make the most of existing vision and to lead a full life.
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article written by Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O.D.