What is Low Vision?
If you are not familiar with low vision, you are not alone. It is not a commonly understood condition, and for this reason, it can be overlooked as a condition that can be debilitating and scary for those experiencing it. But it doesn’t have to be scary or isolating. At Spectrios Institute, low vision is our specialty, and our single-minded focus is helping those with low vision and vision loss live full lives.
Low vision is any visual impairment that cannot be corrected with medical treatment, surgery, or conventional lenses and that interferes with an individual’s ability to perform daily activities.
How do I know if I have Low Vision?
How do you know if you or a loved one or a friend is suﬀering from low vision? If you or someone you know has diﬃculty doing any of the following activities, it may be due to low vision:
Reading a newspaper, book, or mail
Seeing well at night or in dimly lighted rooms
Performing routine household tasks
Seeing the TV
Recognizing people across the room
Seeing curbs and cracks in the sidewalk
Performing everyday activities like cooking or personal grooming and hygiene
What are some common types of Low Vision?
Loss of Central Vision — The loss of central vision creates a blur or blind spot, but side (peripheral) vision remains intact. This makes it diﬃcult to read, recognize faces, and distinguish most details in the distance. Mobility, however, is usually unaﬀected because side vision remains intact.
Loss of Peripheral (Side) Vision — Loss of peripheral vision is typiﬁed by an inability to distinguish anything to one or both sides of the head, or anything directly above and/or below eye level. Central vision remains, making it possible to see directly ahead. Typically, loss of peripheral vision aﬀects mobility and, if severe, can slow reading speed as a result of seeing only a few words at a time. This is sometimes referred to as “tunnel vision.”
Blurred Vision — Blurred vision causes both near and far vision to appear out of focus, even with use of the best conventional spectacle correction.
Generalized Haze — Generalized haze causes the sensation of a ﬁlm or glare that may extend over the entire viewing ﬁeld.
Extreme Light Sensitivity— Extreme light sensitivity exists when standard levels of illumination overwhelm the visual system, producing a washed-out image and/or glare disability. People with extreme light sensitivity may suﬀer pain or discomfort from relatively normal levels of illumination.
Night Blindness — Night blindness results in the inability to see outside at night under starlight or moonlight or in dimly light interior areas such as movie theaters or restaurants.
Both extreme light sensitivity and night blindness qualify as low vision because they are permanent and uncorrectable.
What kinds of eye conditions can cause Low Vision?
Low vision can be caused by a variety of diseases and disorders. A few of the most common types of eye conditions that cause low vision include:
Diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity
Macular degeneration (including age related macular degeneration)
What can I do if my life is impacted by vision loss?
Make an appointment to come to Spectrios Institute to receive a full evaluation by our knowledgeable low vision doctors, to take advantage of our low vision services, and to learn how to make the most of your vision.
Is there hope for me?
Our program focuses on helping you make the most of the vision you have. By using the latest in prescriptive devices, technology and occupational therapy we can help you develop a plan to acheive your goals.