Eye doctors use the term “low vision,” to refer to any eye condition that is not treatable by eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or eye surgery. Having low vision means that there is no way for eye doctors to fully correct the patient’s visual impairment. What eye doctors can do is help sufferers make the most of the vision they still have left. With certain tools and therapy, patients can learn how to remain independent and maintain their activities while living with low vision. Approximately 2% of Americans suffer from low vision and/or blindness. (AllAboutVision.com)
Causes of Low Vision
Individuals with untreated eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma, are the most common low vision patients. The following symptoms of each condition will commonly develop into permanent low vision if left untreated.
Macular Degeneration causes blurry vision and blind spots in the middle of one’s field of view.
Cataracts cause hazy and blurry vision, also a loss of the ability to distinguish colors.
Glaucoma sufferers commonly lose their peripheral vision, and have trouble seeing things that are not directly in front of them.
Diabetes causes diabetic retinopathy, which causes blind spots, blurriness, and overall vision loss.
Other initial signs of low vision include light sensitivity and a loss of contrast in distinguishing colors and brightness. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms or conditions, please schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist immediately. You can fill out the form beside or call (773-777-4444) to schedule a meeting at the Chicago office today.
Living with Low Vision
First and foremost, if you sense any sort of vision problems, it is imperative that you schedule an eye exam with an ophthalmologist immediately. As mentioned above, many low vision conditions occur when an existing eye problem remains untreated for too long, and develops into a permanent condition. If the eye doctor has determined that there is no treatment for your condition, there are other options for living independently and maintaining many daily activities with low vision.
Or-Cam Visual Aid
Our ophthalmologists may recommend using the OrCam visual aid. OrCam is an instrument that helps patients with low vision maintain their independence and utilize the vision they still have to the fullest. The device rests over the eyes, similar to glasses, and has the ability to recognize many things for the patient that their eyes no longer can see. The OrCam can learn how to recognize faces, read content in books or digital formats, and provide basic physical navigation to the user. Though this does not replace the gift of actual vision, it helps the user to make up for their vision loss with the mechanism, and allows low vision sufferers to be more independent than those without the technology.
Training and Therapy with Traditional Tools
Another option that our ophthalmologists may recommend to maintain their independence is being sent to a low vision specialist, who will then train them on how to make use of their remaining vision to the fullest. These methods include learning certain techniques to work around impaired vision, the recommendation of magnifying glasses and large print reading materials, as well as the use of tools to navigate through streets and buildings. Some techniques are similar to what sufferers of blindness will use, while others allow low vision patients to learn how to work around their vision impairment to maintain as much independence as possible.
As mentioned before, low vision may be preventable if eye conditions are diagnosed early and with enough time for ophthalmologists to correct. If you have any concerns about your vision or eye health, please contact the office in Chicago – Harlem today, to schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologists. You can fill out the form beside or call us at (312-777-4444) today.