The Clearview Blog
The Facts About Low Vision
August 27, 2015
When was the last time you wore two different coloured socks, but thought they were the same? You laughed it off until it happened again. You keep turning up the lights in your home and office because everything appears dim. Driving is becoming more difficult for you, and even watching television is less enjoyable since you can’t see it clearly.
You decide that it’s probably time to have your eyes checked and get a new glasses or contact lens prescription. Unfortunately if getting new glasses does not improve your vision issues, you may be suffering from low vision.
Low vision is a permanent loss of vision and no medication, surgery or new prescription will correct it. We will offer you facts about the symptoms and causes of low vision including helpful resources for you to cope. You can still enjoy life with low vision.
Identifying Low Vision
Everyday normal activities are compromised when you have low vision. Central vision is blurred and sometimes totally distorted. With time even recognizing faces can be problematic. Patients with low vision have difficulty doing simple things like grocery shopping, driving, and reading the newspaper.
Low vision tends to make it difficult to determine depth perception. Climbing up and down steps can be dangerous. Low vision also makes it hard to distinguish colors. Contrast is diminished so someone with low vision cannot tell how much milk is left in a white vessel. Simple tasks like reading and writing become a challenge if not virtually impossible.
The only way to know for sure if you are experiencing low vision is to be diagnosed by an experienced eye care professional.
What Causes Low Vision
Many patients who are diagnosed with low vision think it is just their aging eyes. Low vision can occur at any age, but it does seem to occur more often in the older population. On the other hand, just because you are getting older does not mean you will have low vision.
There are some specific eye diseases which can result in low vision:
- Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease associated with diabetes. It develops slowly, with no early warning signs, and causes irreversible damage to your vision.
- Macular Degeneration is a disease of your retina. Patients experience black and blurry spots in the central part of their vision.
- Glaucoma is an eye disease of the optic nerve. An early sign of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision, and unless it is caught in time, leads to permanent loss of vision.
- Patients who have experienced brain injuries can develop low vision.
- Certain cancers can result in low vision.
In order to preserve your vision it is critically important to have regular comprehensive eye exams to rule out any of these eye diseases. Since several of these diseases have no early apparent symptoms don’t wait until it is too late to save your vision. The eye specialists at Clearview Vision Institute are here to help.
You Can Still Enjoy Life with Low Vision
There are many simple ways to cope with low vision and continue to enjoy life. Unfortunately many patients become depressed and home bound when faced with this situation. They feel like they no longer can be independent and don’t want to impose on others. If you or someone you know is faced with the challenges of low vision, there are ways to compensate and deal with their decreased vision.
Place brighter lights near natural work areas like the kitchen, desk, and especially entrances.
Have multiple flash lights available in the home.
Since glare can be a problem for those with low vision, wear a visor and/ or hat when outside.
Enlarge reading materials whenever possible. This includes the font on laptops and computers, on e-readers. Another choice is the Spot Light Text specifically for those patients with low vision.
Choose audio books if reading is still difficult or as a change of pace.
Move furniture around to create small conversational areas so you don’t have to rely on your distance vision.
Eliminate or tape down area rugs to lessen the chance of an accident.
There are other resources for low vision including devices to make life easier.
Some Final Thoughts
Once you understand the facts about low vision and the aids and resources available to you, you can maintain your independence and still enjoy life.
If you believe a relative or friend is suffering from low vision issues, encourage them to see an eye specialist and make use of the aids available to them. At Clearview Vision Institute, Dr. Juricic is a leader in vision care for the visually impaired. She provides a 1.5 hour low vision assessment on every patient. Through the use of low vision devices and specialized glasses, she is able to maximize her patients remaining vision.
If you think YOU are experiencing low vision, contact Clearview Vision Institute to schedule an appointment.