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Low Vision

Low-Vision-Slideshow

What Is Low Vision

Low vision is a condition associated with a number of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinopathy. It is defined as eyesight which is 20/70 or lower in the stronger eye, and can mean either a significant or a complete loss of central or peripheral vision, blurry vision, poor low-light vision, loss of light sensitivity and/or loss of contrast. Daily activities such as writing, watching TV, driving, or even recognizing the faces of loved ones may become exceedingly difficult to the point of being impossible for those afflicted by this common condition.

Our Low Vision Eye Doctor

Dr. Timothy C. NicholsDr. Timothy Nichols specializes in helping those affected by this difficult condition. “This condition usually impacts the older population, but it can really affect anyone of any age! Unfortunately, this condition cannot be fully helped by eyeglasses, contacts, medicines or eye surgery, creating a situation which can seriously affect a person in exceedingly negative and debilitating ways.”

What are the options for patients with low vision?

Since low vision cannot be fully corrected, a person with low vision must learn ways to continue to function independently with the sight still available to them. Dr. Nichols comments, “Those with low vision often become dependent on friends and family to perform daily tasks, which sometimes results in feelings of embarrassment and shame due to their increased inability to do things for themselves. It is important to know that even if you suffer from low vision, there are options for you to regain and maintain your independence.”

Low Vision Aids

Dr. Nichols teaches his patients to utilize devices and techniques that allow those with low vision to use their remaining sight to remain as independent as possible. “At Clinic for Vision PC, we offer many devices from one of the most advanced low vision providers in the eyecare world today, eschenbach. From reading glasses and spectacle magnifiers, to hand-held, video and lamp magnifiers and telescopes, we are able to offer our patients incredible devices to help them maintain their independence despite the difficulties associated with their low vision.
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Coping with Low Vision

Low vision is the term used to describe reduced eyesight – either blurred vision (usually 20/70 or worse) or an incomplete field of view – that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or eye surgery. The primary causes of low vision are eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. But low vision also can be inherited or caused by an eye or brain injury.

A person with low vision is not blind: they have some useful sight. But the degree of their visual impairment can make daily tasks, such as reading and driving, difficult or impossible.

Though children as well as adults can be visually impaired, low vision is mostly a problem that afflicts seniors. Vision loss after a lifetime of good eyesight can be very traumatic, leading to frustration and depression.

Many people who develop eye problems that cause low vision lose their jobs. According to Lighthouse International, among visually impaired Americans of ages 21 to 64, only 43.7% are employed. Among normally-sighted people in this age group, 80% are employed.

Not being able to drive safely, read quickly, or easily see images on a television or computer screen can cause people with low vision to feel shut off from the world. They may be unable to get around town independently, earn a living or even shop for food and other necessities. Some visually impaired people become completely dependent on friends and relatives, while others suffer alone.

Thankfully, in many cases, people with impaired vision can be helped by low vision devices, which include eyeglass-mounted magnifiers, handheld magnifiers and telescopes, and stand-alone magnifiers. There are many ingenious low vision devices and strategies that can help visually-impaired individuals get the most out of their remaining sight and, in many cases, continue to live independently.

If you have hazy or blurred vision, light sensitivity, loss of peripheral vision, night blindness, a need for more light than before, unusual floaters or spots, or difficulty reading – your first step is to see an eyecare professional for a complete exam.

These could be the first signs of a serious eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or retinitis pigmentosa. Or, they could mean you are developing a cataract that needs removal. Whatever the case, it’s wise to take action before further vision loss occurs.