Low vision is a phrase commonly used in the world of ophthalmology. It can be used to describe individuals who cannot see well and cannot be helped with glasses. It is estimated that 285 million people around the world have low vision or impairments related to their eyesight, and understanding what that is and how it affects them will help you in your business.
Low vision is caused by eye disease. It is defined as having 20/70 or worse vision in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular glasses. It can be caused by eye disease, where visual acuity is 20/70 or worse in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with surgery, medical intervention, or glasses.
Most Americans with vision loss are not totally blind. They have low vision, which is defined by the inability to see well enough to read standard print or do other close work.
Your vision contains two important components — acuity and contrast sensitivity. Acuity is the ability to see detail and read small or faraway letters. An eye chart in your optometrist’s office will test this. Measure acuity by reading the smallest row of letters you can read. The higher your acuity, the better.
Have you ever struggled to notice differences between objects? It can be hard to tell the difference in colors or shades. Contrast sensitivity is your ability to distinguish an object from its background. The more subtle distinctions in colors or shades you can observe, the higher your contrast sensitivity.
The myth that all blind people see blackness is incorrect. Dr. Nicole Ross of NECO Center for Eye Care Commonwealth and the New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins School for the Blind says that only 1% of those with blindness will have no light perception.
The number of people in the U.S. diagnosed with low vision continues to grow and is expected to double in the next three decades. Today, Dr. Rohit Varma (Director at Southern California Eye Institute) says that nearly 8 million Americans are either blind or visually impaired, and this number is expected to quadruple by 2050.
Low vision can come from a variety of sources such as aging, diabetes, and other diseases. It may also be the result of an accident or cancer. There are many cases where low vision is inherited and can’t be fixed. It can result from age, diabetes, and many other eye-related issues.
The Low Vision Clinic is a place where we work with individuals to maximize whatever vision they have left and provide them with any equipment and strategies they might need to live their lives.
One might be diagnosed with a vision impairment as a result of age or disease. Rehabilitation is a strategy geared towards helping them bridge the gap between their previous vision and a new, low vision one. Habilitation is more for those born with the condition. It’s all about teaching them to adapt to this new reality, such as walking with support or using tools like magnifiers.
Macular degeneration is a disorder that causes the retina to deteriorate, impairing central vision. The central area of vision on the retina degrades and causes blurry or blind spots in the central area of vision. At first, this may only cause difficulty reading, but it can get worse and gradually make it impossible for some people to see at all.
Age-related macular degeneration can be either wet or dry, and the difference is significant. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop under the macula and leak fluid and blood. Dry macular degeneration is the more common form and causes a slow decline of vision over time.
Age-related macular degeneration can come in the form of both exudative (bleeding) and non-exudative (no bleeding) diseases. The leading cause of blindness for those over 50, it is important to act early to prevent this condition. Recent studies estimate that over 1.6 million people over 50 have age-related macular degeneration.
The exact cause of age-related macular degeneration is unknown. Although it is most often attributed to aging, cigarette smoking or poor nutrition can also accelerate the development of this eye disease. A form of macular degeneration that typically hits children, called Stargardt Macular Dystrophy, also causes vision loss in young people.
Cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens, block the retina from receiving enough light. This can lead to a loss of vision. In otherwise healthy eyes, a cataract may be removed by surgery. The surgery is typically successful for those who have it. But it may not always be an option for those who also have eye diseases. For them, rehabilitation may help maximize their vision.
Glaucoma is the most common form of blindness in people over 40. It can be treated with drugs or surgery, but most commonly it’s caused by an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. From the first signs of damage (defects inside vision and difficulty with night vision), it is extremely important that you consult your eye care practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.
Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially debilitating effect of diabetes. It can cause blood vessels to leak and affect the person’s vision. The most important treatment for diabetic retinopathy is keeping blood sugar in check. Laser procedures and surgeries can be used to treat it, but regulating blood sugar is the most important step.
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that gradually destroys night vision. It may result in total vision impairment. The first symptom, night blindness, usually occurs in childhood or adolescence, making it hard for children to play outdoors at night.
Amblyopia is a condition in which the vision system fails to develop normally during childhood. This can lead to blurry, ineffective vision in one or both eyes, which cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses alone.
Retinopathy of prematurity occurs in premature babies, usually during the neonatal period. This condition is caused by the extreme oxygen levels that are frequent in incubators, which are typically at high levels to help the baby.
Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina separates from its underlying layer. It can cause total vision impairment in the affected eye. Diagnosis can be difficult, but with early intervention, most detached retinas can be surgically reattached with partial or complete restoration of vision.
Vision can be lost or damaged as a result of head injuries, brain damage, and stroke. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have vision problems: blurred vision, reduced visual acuity or visual field, difficulty reading, confusing depth of objects, double vision, headaches, dizziness, abnormal body posture, and balance problems.
Visually impaired children are underrepresented in the classroom and their communities. Despite the prevalence of this disability, they remain underserved. In order to counter misconceptions, we need to educate people about blindness. It starts with reading up on vision impairment and sharing the knowledge with friends.