It is estimated that there are now over 10 million people in the US who have serious visual impairments but who are not blind. Reductions in vision can result from genetic, developmental, disease, stroke and traumatic causes. A person with low vision has a small amount of useful vision but it is insufficient for their daily needs. Conventional eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery won’t help. Watching television, seeing street signs or people’s faces, and even reading large print may all be difficult. Individuals may be ineligible to drive. Special testing and treatment can help manage these frequently challenging vision problems. Often such care can make a profound improvement in the lives of persons with these difficulties.
Eyecare providers who provide vision enhancement services are called Low Vision Specialists. Low vision services may be found in many private optometry and ophthalmology practices, departments of ophthalmology in medical centers, VA Medical Centers, Agencies for the Visually Impaired and schools and colleges of Optometry.
Special devices, called low vision aids, can often allow individuals to regain much useful vision. These range from simple magnifiers to complex optical and electronic systems. Low vision experts perform special testing to determine the optimal magnification and type of device(s) appropriate for the individual’s needs and functioning goals. In many states, special telescopic eyeglasses, called bioptics, may enable some visually impaired individuals to obtain or retain their driver’s license. Regulations vary from state to state. Individuals should be aware that low vision care services are available that can help support their visual needs while they seek medical treatment.
Want help to see better?
Ask for a referral for Low Vision care from your own eyecare provider, neurologist or other health care provider.
Remember: This special examination and treatment does not replace the eye care that you presently receive.