What is low vision?
This is a condition that cannot be fully corrected with medical treatment, surgery or conventional glasses. Unlike total blindness, most individuals with low vision have some useful sight. But as vision deteriorates, those affected often find it difficult to accomplish the tasks of everyday life, such as reading, writing, recognizing faces, watching TV and differentiating colors. Activities like shopping, cooking and driving may be hard to do.
Low vision is usually caused by “end stage” eye diseases or health conditions. Some of these include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes, glaucoma, brain injury, Stargardt’s, albinism and ROP (retinopathy of prematurity). Whatever the cause, lost vision cannot be restored. It is always a shock to learn that your vision loss cannot be regained and you may feel angry or frustrated.
How do I know if I have low vision?
Even when wearing your glasses or contact lenses, do you still have difficulties with:
Reading, cooking, sewing, or fixing things around the house?
Selecting and matching the color of your clothes?
Recognizing the faces of family and friends?
Seeing clearly with the lights on or feeling like they are dimmer than normal?
Reading traffic signs or the names of stores?
These could all be early warning signs of vision loss or eye disease. The sooner this is detected by an eye care professional, the greater your chances of keeping your remaining vision.
Diagnosed with Low vision? What next?
Low vision can be managed with proper treatment and vision rehabilitation. It involves a multidisciplinary approach – from ophthalmologists to optometrists to occupational therapists and counselors – who are trained to evaluate your condition and identify an individualized rehabilitation plan to help you maximize remaining functional vision and maintain independence in daily living.
Low Vision Management:
- Care is often started with the diagnosis of eye condition leading to low vision, with referral to the low vision clinic, where the following can be prescribed:
- Prescription, tele-microscopic glasses or
- Therapeutic filters
- Video magnification, Talking books
- Specialized optical systems like magnifiers, CCTV
- Telescopes, spectacle-mounted telescope
- Small group training sessions to maximize the ability to perform activities of daily living such as self-care, dressing, grooming, eating, cooking, organization and bathing to help maximize independence in your daily life
- You are taught to make use of technologies and devices to help you make the most of your remaining vision.
- Occupational therapy helps you develop skills and strategies to overcome the challenges of vision loss and restore independence to daily living
- Counselling sessions: If you have low vision, taking care of yourself and staying active will help you avoid depression, which can appear as fatigue or lack of interest.
You should visit our eye clinic if you experience any changes to your eyesight.