Due to an increase in the number of aging baby boomers and the growing prevalence of such diseases as diabetes and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), some 61 million Americans are at high risk of serious vision loss.
What Is Low Vision?
Partial vision loss that cannot be corrected causes a vision impairment known as low vision. A person with low vision has severely reduced visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, a significantly obstructed field of vision -- or all three. Watch simulations of some of the most common causes of low vision.
Signs of Low Vision:
- Difficulty recognizing a familiar face
- Difficulty reading -- print appears broken, distorted or incomplete
- Difficulty seeing objects and potential hazards such as steps, curbs, walls, uneven surfaces and furniture
Low Vision = Useful Vision:
People with low vision usually retain some usable vision. An ophthalmologist or optometrist specializing in low vision can evaluate how you see and prescribe optical devices to maximize your remaining vision. This functional vision assessment is an important step in helping improve your quality of life.
Improving Your Functional Vision with the Help of Devices:
Even with regular eyeglasses or contact lenses, a visual image -- whether a sentence from a book or a crosswalk at a busy intersection -- may appear distorted, blurred or incomplete if you have low vision. A low vision doctor may recommend or prescribe devices such as magnifiers and tinted lenses to help you take full advantage of the sight you have. Non-optical devices such as large-print clocks and remote controls, as well as signature and writing guides, are also popular. Visit the Lighthouse Store for more information on low vision products.
Vision Rehabilitation - The Key to Safety and Independence:
If your vision loss can't be corrected by medical or surgical interventions, vision rehabilitation can help. Vision rehabilitation services equip you with skills and strategies to help you remain safe, independent and active at any stage of life.
These services are provided by a multidisciplinary team of professionals who can introduce you to new methods of using remaining vision to help you maximize daily functioning and adjust to vision loss. This team includes specially trained ophthalmologists, optometrists, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, vision rehabilitation therapists, career counselors, orientation and mobility specialists, and others.