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We can help when you lose some of your sight.
Low vision describes serious vision loss, but not complete blindness, that cannot be corrected by medicine, surgery, regular glasses or contact lenses. Low vision makes it hard to do everyday activities like reading, cooking and driving. It manifests differently for different people, depending on the underlying cause of vision loss and the specific part of the eye affected.
Common types of low vision include:
Low vision has a variety of causes. The underlying cause of your low vision will determine what symptoms you experience and what treatments are right for you. Causes of low vision include:
If you are experiencing any visual impairment that interferes with daily activities, you should book an appointment with your eye doctor right away. Your doctor may conduct a low vision exam, in which he or she will assess your visual acuity, peripheral vision, and color vision.
Your doctor may also perform a dilated eye exam. This involves administering eye drops to make your pupils widen, which allows your doctor to examine inside your eye. He or she can check for problems that may cause low vision, such as degradation of the macula or damage to the retina.
Low vision cannot be cured by surgery, corrective lenses, or contacts. In some instances – like cataracts and diabetic retinopathy – surgery or other medical treatments may slow or even improve low vision. However, in most cases, vision impairment is irreversible. But that does not mean you have to give up the daily activities you enjoy! There are a variety of tools that can maximize your remaining vision and help you maintain your independence and quality of life. These low vision aids include both optical and non-optical devices.
Optical devices are visual aids that help with daily tasks by directly enhancing your vision. You may want to incorporate more than one optical device into your daily activities, depending on what types of tasks are important to you.
For near tasks, like readings the newspaper or your smartphone:
For intermediate tasks, like viewing computer screens and managing personal finances:
For distance tasks, like watching a sports game, recognizing people, and possible driving:
Additional optical tools to manage low vision include:
Whereas optical devices work to enhance vision directly, non-optical devices help you perform tasks by finding workarounds to your low vision.
Some popular non-optical devices and solutions include:
Additional non-optical strategies may include:
Our low vision rehabilitation team will help you make the most of your remaining sight. You’ll get an individualized treatment plan, structured around helping you with your unique needs and challenges. We will help you to integrate new tools into your daily routine so you can get back to doing what you love.
Treating low vision requires more than just optometry. We also work with community partners to provide personalized in-home training, occupational therapy, vocational training, mobility training, and driving rehabilitation services. Additionally, we understand that vision loss can be frustrating and isolating. As such, we can help you get the mental health care that you need. Come see us today so you can learn to live your life to the fullest with low vision.
Dr. Kara Hanson OD, Optometrist | UCHealth
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