About Low Vision
Common Eye Conditions That Can Lead To Vision Impairment:
These are common eye conditions that can lead to vision impairment of varying levels. Each person is different. Each management plan differs. A low vision rehabilitation exam will help determine a good understanding of where a patient has issues and explore solutions. The majority of these conditions will cause permanent loss of vision. Do not be disheartened. Be educated. It will empower you. Stay brave.
Age-related macular degeneration comes in two forms, dry (non-exudative) or wet (exudative). Damage to the macula (in the retina) affects central vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) occurs in patients with uncontrolled diabetes. Varying levels of impairment can result from the damage of the retina (back of the eye). Patients can complain of flux in vision much related to blood sugar control. Patients will have contrast issues and can have loss of peripheral and central vision.
There are many forms of glaucoma. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve in the eye resulting in loss of peripheral vision. The optic nerve connects our eyes to our brain.
Cataracts can be debilitating if unable to be surgically removed. There can be many reasons why a person is not a candidate for surgical intervention. Severe cataracts that cannot be corrected even with glasses can create haze and blurred vision.
Amblyopia (aka “Lazy Eye) describes an eye that under developed at birth. If issues remain unaddressed and non-adaptable, a person can have reduced vision and poor depth perception.
Cortical Visual Impairment and Cerebral Visual Impairment
Location of damage varies for these patients. But results in total or partial loss of vision due to damage to the brain and/or visual pathways.
Ocular albinism is a genetic condition that affects the pigmentation of the iris and the retina. Common issues include light sensitivity, poor eye alignment, and reduced vision.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
RP is a genetic disorder that involves the breaks down of the cells in the retina. Patients will have loss of night vision and loss of peripheral vision.
NOTE for our pediatric patients:
Especially for our pediatric population with vision impairment, it is important to have a multi-disciplinary assessment of the patient.
What is Low Vision Rehabilitation?
The term “low vision” is used to describe reduced vision. A person that has reduced vision that is not correctable has “vision impairment.” Vision impairment does not necessarily mean a person has total blindness. There are varying levels of impairment, partial sight, or categories of blindness that can be classified based on the amount of visual acuity and/or visual field. A person can have limited vision or blindness for many different reasons. Conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, amblyopia, or traumatic brain injury can cause vision to reduce. Eye trauma or injuries can also cause impairment to vision. Overall, any person of any age can have a visual impairment. When a person’s vision does not allow them to function to their best potential in daily life, at work, while driving, or doing hobbies, Low Vision Rehabilitation can help.
Low Vision Rehabilitation starts with a low vision rehabilitation evaluation by an optometrist or ophthalmologist that specializes in low vision. An exam is more detailed than a basic eye exam. Doctor recommendations may include eyeglasses, contact lenses, aids, or modifications that can help, for example in the form of strong magnifying glasses, microscopes, magnifiers, telescopes, electronic devices, and/or filters and contrast enhancements.