The Clearview Blog

What is Low Vision?

January 22, 2015

Low Vision

If you are having difficulty reading, driving at night time, or having blurry vision, there could be any number of causes. Usually after a visit to your eye specialist, you will be prescribed glasses or contact lenses to correct the problem. But what if none of these devices or even surgery will help your vision to improve? Your ailment could be something more serious like low vision.

Low vision can exhibit all the vision issues already described but when these symptoms can’t be treated, they make it difficult for you to do ordinary everyday tasks. You may not be able to see the television, your central vision may be blocked, or everything may seem hazy or dim. In many circumstances the cause of your low vision is due to a medical condition.

Causes of Low Vision

Although it may seem like low vision is more common in older people, low vision can affect people of any age. Just because you are getting older does not mean you will develop low vision. The common causes of low vision include the following eye diseases or issues:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Some cancer or brain injuries
  • Injury to the eye

Symptoms of Low Vision

One of the most debilitating symptoms of low vision is the inability to recognize faces and distinguish color and contrast. If someone suffers from macular degeneration their entire central vision may be obstructed or distorted, whereas glaucoma causes peripheral vision to be decreased.

Patients may lose the ability to drive at night and develop night blindness. It may seem like everything is dim, hazy or blurred. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you know someone like this, you should consult with the low vision specialists at Clearview Vision Institute. You will undergo a complete eye examination and answer questions about your medical history to determine if you are suffering from low vision.

How to Cope

Although there is no cure for low vision, there are numerous ways a patient can learn to cope with its limitations.

  • Increase the amount of light in your home and work area. Use a bright lamp over your reading material. Carry a small flashlight.
  • Decrease glare by wearing a visor in bright areas, whether they are outdoors and even inside.
  • Sit closer to whatever you are trying to see, whether it is the television, a play, or the screen at the movies.
  • Use larger text, whether it’s on playing cards, the font on your e-reader, or on your phone.
  • A magnifying glass can help with reading a menu or a price tag.
  • Use your hearing instead and listen to audio books.

There are many other low vision aids to help someone remain independent and productive. Most importantly don’t allow the frustration and impatience that comes with this condition to lead to depression. If you know someone with low vision, make sure they are utilizing the many aids available today to alleviate and counter their limitations.

If you think you may be developing low vision, contact the low vision specialists at Clearview Vision Institute. Dr. Ana Juricic and Dr. Marina Ceaus will provide low vision assessment and rehabilitation.