Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to achieve. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can seem challenging. Living with a visual impairment can be difficult, however rehabilitation programs, devices, and technology can help you adapt to vision loss.
Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases and health conditions like macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetes. A few people develop vision loss after eye injuries or from birth defects. While vision that’s lost usually cannot be restored, many people can make the most of the vision they have.
Although many people maintain good vision throughout their lifetimes, people over age 65 are at increased risk of developing low vision. When your vision reaches 20/70 or worse you should seek out the care of a low vision specialist. Your eye care professional can tell the difference between normal changes in the aging eye and those caused by eye diseases. You and your eye care professional or specialist in low vision need to work in partnership to achieve what is best for you. They may help you keep doing many of the things you did before.
How Do I Know When To Get An Eye Exam?
Regular dilated eye exams should be part of your routine health care. However, if you believe your vision has recently changed, you should see your eye care professional as soon as possible.
Signs of Vision Loss
There are many signs that can signal vision loss. For example, even with your regular glasses, do you find have difficulty with the following activities?
- Recognizing faces?
- Reading, cooking, sewing or fixing things around the house?
- Selecting and matching the color of your clothes?
- Do work or home lights seem dimmer than usual?
- Reading signs like street names or store banners?
What Can I Do About My Low Vision?
Although many people maintain good vision throughout their lifetimes, people over age 65 are at increased risk of developing low vision. You and your eye care professional or specialist in low vision need to work in partnership to achieve what is best for you. An important part of this relationship is good communication.
Talk with your eye care professional
It’s important to talk with your eye care professional about your vision problems. Even though it may be difficult, ask for help. Find out where you can get more information about services and devices that can help you.
Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment and keeping your remaining vision.
If you are having these vision difficulties should immediately make an appointment with an eye care professional for an eye examination. Prepare questions to ask your eye care professional about your vision problems, or take a tape recorder to your exam with you. Find out where you can get more information about services and devices that can help you.
If your vision cannot be treated by conventional methods, such as glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, then ask the eye care professional for information about vision rehabilitation. These services may include eye examinations, a low vision evaluation, visual and adaptive devices, support groups, and training on how to perform everyday activities in new ways.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information about low vision, contact your state or local rehabilitation agency for the blind and visually impaired.
Investigate and learn
Be persistent. Remember that you are your best health advocate. Investigate and learn as much as you can, especially if you have been told that you may lose more vision. It is important that you ask questions about vision rehabilitation and get answers. Many resources such as rehabilitation programs, devices, and technology can help you adapt to vision loss. They may help you keep doing many of the things you did before.