What is Low Vision?

Low vision is a term that refers to eyesight that is so severely poor it cannot be corrected using eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. 

There are numerous causes of low vision, and despite the inability to reverse it, many people can still go on to live their life with low vision. 

Individuals with low vision often experience a loss of their best corrected visual acuity to 20/70 (in the better eye), tunnel vision, blind spots, or legal blindness. In the United States, legal blindness is defined as a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye. 

Low vision usually occurs as a result of eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, or others. 

And low vision creates multiple eye care issues for adults and children alike, like high unemployment, the inability to drive or watch TV, and can even lead to poverty. Once an individual has been properly tested by an eye care professional to be certain glasses, contacts, or surgery will not help, there are several courses of action to cope with low vision. For instance, if you have a cataract that needs to be removed, it’s best to do that once it’s identified. 

Eye doctors or low vision care specialists can even prescribe ways to help you see and live life to the fullest.

Possible prescribed devices range from a lighted handheld magnifier to a digital desktop magnifier, or bioptic telescopes. Other solutions range from large-face printed materials, audio recordings, or other devices. If you suffer from low vision, your best starting point is to set up an eye exam with your family eye care professional to identify ways you can live with low vision.