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Home » What's New » Low Vision: Helping People Live Their Lives

Low Vision: Helping People Live Their Lives

There’s a place between 20/20 and blindness, and it’s called low vision. Most people whom have it are older and having other vision impairing problems. Low vision is not a disease in its own right, but it usually goes along with other age­ and health related conditions.

Diabetes with retinopathy, macular degeneration,glaucoma and cataracts are the usual suspects. About three million of them are in the United States. One definition of low vision is where eyesight is functionally impaired even with correction.

Functional impairment is extremely subjective so some people with vision of 20/50 are limited in what they can do while others at 20/200 are still successful at their daily activities. For example, “If an accountant can’t read spreadsheets with ordinary prescription glasses or contacts, they belong in the category of those with low vision,” he says. On the contrary, someone who is spending their days fishing or watching television may not be impacted.

For many, low vision also means legal blindness, defined as corrected visual sharpness of20/200 or worse in the better eye.There is help for people trying to live a normal life with low vision. Visual Aids are available to help with nearly all tasks. It sounds simple, but there’s high ­tech behind it.

The best method for people to improve their sight with low vision is just making things appear bigger.That’s where magnifiers come in and in several varieties:Eyeglass or spectacle­ mounted. Magnifiers and telescopes can be placed directly on glasses. This is good because it leaves hands free to do other things.

Magnifiers are for close-up tasks and telescopes for seeing things farther away (like a ball game, for example). Hand­held and stand: For on ­the­ go activities, hand­held magnifiers help people take better vision with them. Helpful for reading price tags, for instance. The stand type is better for prolonged reading as it doesn’t require steady hands. Electro­optical systems. These complex­ sounding tools are special closed-circuit TV devices that make video images larger.

Over the past few years, these have dominated the low vision doctors options as they offer greater flexibility, larger magnification and the prices have been reducing.Besides magnification options, there are plenty pretty easy time finding large­ print books, magazines and other reading materials. Mobile phones, iPads, Kindles and even basic web sites are also moving toward giving the option to increase image size on screen.

Additionally, illumination is a major help with most patients that are struggling with their vision. Using the appropriate lighting with full spectrum bulbs often is enough to take a person from difficult to functional.Clear vision and a sense of independence go hand-in- hand, so low vision aids are key for people living with the condition. Don’t let low vision limit the world around you; visit your eye doctor to learn which visual aids will work best for you.