What is Low Vision?
Low Vision is the term that is used when a vision problem, such as macular degeneration, interferes with one’s ability to accomplish activities of daily living and function independently; and when nothing can be done, medically or surgically, to correct the problem.
Most people with low vision voice the following difficulties despite wearing their glasses:
- Difficulty seeing or recognizing people’s faces
- Trouble seeing close work such as reading or sewing
- Lights seem dimmer or rooms seem darker than they used to be
Causes of Low Vision
Although certain vision changes are expected as people age, these changes usually do not interfere with performing activities of daily living. Most people develop low vision because of eye disease such as:
In each case, conventional eyeglasses, medical treatment, or surgery cannot further improve sight. In other words, the doctor has told the patient that "nothing more can be done medically" to help him or her see better.
Low Vision Rehabilitation
vision rehabilitation is a specialty that is focused on helping people with low vision make the most of their remaining vision in order to gain greater independence. This is accomplished using optical aids, devices, environmental modifications, non-optical aids, and a skilled team of providers specializing in low vision rehabilitation.
Low vision rehabilitation first strives to help patients understand the possibilities of the rehabilitation process. Patients need to consider specific goals such as "to read again" rather than general desires such as "to see better. “ This focused attention makes low vision rehabilitation an extremely individualized service. Patients must also be willing to do things in different ways. If they insist on doing things the old way, it does not work.
Low Vision Aids
Next, low vision rehabilitation harnesses whatever usable vision a person has left and maximizing its potential, using a variety of low vision aids. Low vision aids are a variety of devices that can help persons with low vision function with greater independence.
Some Low Vision aids include:
- Optical devices - These include magnifiers and telescopes that serve to enlarge what is seen
- Writing Guides
- Guides are like stencils that have openings so that one can know where to write information on a form such as a check
- Talking devices
- Items such as a talking calculator or talking alarm clock allow one to receive information using different senses
- Light and contrast
- Keeping the environment well lighted is especially important
- Large print materials - Many materials are available in large print such as magazines and game books. In addition, checks can be ordered in large print.