Low vision refers to a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. This can include visual conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Low vision can also result from an injury or neurological disorder.
Symptoms of low vision include:
- Difficulty seeing fine details
- Difficulty reading and performing close work
- Difficulty recognizing faces or objects
- Difficulty seeing in low light or glare
- Difficulty with spatial awareness and mobility
Low vision can have a significant impact on an individual's daily life and can affect their ability to work, read, drive, and engage in leisure activities.
Low vision rehabilitation is an approach to help individuals with visual impairments to perform daily activities and improve their quality of life.
Low vision rehabilitation typically includes:
- A comprehensive eye examination
- A functional vision assessment to determine the individual's visual abilities and limitations
- A low vision evaluation to determine the best devices, techniques, and strategies to help the individual with their specific visual needs
- Training and instruction on how to use low vision devices and techniques
- Referral to other professionals such as occupational therapists, rehabilitation counselors, and social workers as needed.
Low vision devices can include:
- Closed-circuit televisions
- Video magnifiers
- Handheld or stand magnifiers
- Electronic reading devices
- Talking books and devices
- Large print materials
It is important to note that low vision is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying condition. Therefore, it is important to treat the underlying condition to prevent further vision loss.
A low vision specialist or optometrist who is trained in low vision rehabilitation can provide the individual with the necessary resources, devices, and strategies to help them to maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.