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Coping With Low Vision

What is Low Vision:

When your vision is affected and visual difficulties fail to be corrected using contact lenses, glasses, medicines, and other medical procedures, you are said to have low vision or visual impairment. With low vision, you may have trouble with doing specific everyday tasks like reading, recognizing faces, perceiving colors, and driving. Low vision may occur at any age.  However, it is most common with people over 65 years of age.

Causes of Low Vision

A health condition is usually behind the symptoms of low vision. Some of the causes are the following.

  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract
  • Eye injuries
  • Genetic abnormalities

Symptoms of Low Vision

With low vision, you may be facing one or more of the following symptoms even while using glasses or contacts.

  • Difficulties with focus and detailed vision like reading, cooking, sewing, etc.
  • Inability to recognize faces of people and see facial expressions
  • Changes in color perception
  • Difficulty with driving, especially at night
  • Difficulty in perceiving brightness
  • Blurred vision or black spots in field of view

As soon as you notice any of these early symptoms of low vision, book an appointment and talk to your eye doctor. Timely diagnosis of low vision can help by treating to keep the remaining vision intact and provide options for independent living. Even without any symptoms, the American Optometric Association recommends to have your eyes checked every once in 2 years for people between the ages of 18-60 and once a year for seniors over the age of 61. Sometimes, routine check-ups can detect unseen problems.

Steps to take after diagnosis

Though it is difficult to completely reverse the loss of vision, you will get support for leading an independent life. After your diagnosis, take steps to see that the remaining vision is healthy and you can use it fully.

Step 1: Seek out for a good support team

Ideally, your support team should include you, your ophthalmologist, and a low vision optometrist who specializes in your problem and solutions for maximizing your existing vision. Apart from the above people, you can also consult an occupational therapist, a mobility expert, a qualified low vision therapist, counselors, and social workers.

Step 2: Talk about your visual difficulties

Though this may be difficult for you, talk to your low vision doctor about your specific problem. Gather as much information about the issue as you can and inquire about other sources from where you can know more about it. Knowing more about the services and adaptive devices available for your condition can help make it easier for you to manage your problem.

Step 3: Find out about vision rehabilitation programs

Vision rehabilitation programs help by providing many services like

  • Help in using adaptive devices like magnifying glasses, stand magnifiers, and computer programs
  • Training for conducting day-to-day activities with ease and independence
  • Help with home modification to make things more suited for your ability
  • Support to cope with your vision loss
  • Information about other resources to help you

You may even be eligible for Medicare-funded occupational therapy. Find out if you are.

Step 4: Stay persistent

Finally, you are your own motivator. Stay persistent and work towards leading an independent life. Keep finding more information and resources that can help you.

Low Vision Aids in Long Island, NY

When something more than glasses and contacts is required, other sophisticated and specialized devices step in. Some of the low vision devices that are very helpful in such cases are:

  • Handheld magnifiers
  • Stand magnifiers
  • Magnifying reading glasses
  • Clip-on loupes that can be attached to glasses
  • Telescope microscopic glasses
  • Prisms
  • Escoop Glasses
  • Spectacle-mounted telescopes
  • Bioptic telescopes

Most of these devices are designed to work well for specific tasks. With the advancement of technology, more versatile and high-tech devices, like the IrisVision are also coming into the market.

There are two main causes for Low Vision, an eye injury or an eye disease so make sure you or loved one are having yearly eye exams.