FAQs about Low Vision

Blue question marks and the works frequently asked questions


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.

What is Low Vision Rehabilitation?

Low vision rehabilitation is like physical therapy with the objective of helping people with vision loss develop a toolbox of strategies to maintain independence and a sense of self-worth.


At Spectrios, you will participate in our three-pronged approach of addressing the head, heart and eyes.


The Head – We will work with you to help you understand your diagnosis and develop a plan to help you reach your goals.


The Heart  – We will help relieve the feelings of anger and frustration, commonly experienced by people with vision loss.


The Eyes – We will create a comprehensive plan to address your specific needs with access to the latest diagnostic tools, prescriptive devices, occupational therapy and access technology.


If were injured or lost a limb you would seek physical therapy, similarly low vision rehabilitation will provide you the approach and tools necessary to help you regain your independence.

Why is Low Vision Rehabilitation Important?

Low vision rehabilitation provides hope, supported by science.  Research has shown that people with low vision tend to have more emotional difficulties and a higher risk of accidents than normally-sighted individuals. Patients who have undergone rehabilitation, however, have reported significant improvements in their functional abilities, a high rate of continued use of low vision devices, improvement in reading and distance vision, and general satisfaction with the quality of life.


We are here to help you achieve your goals.

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:

  1. Reading a newspaper, book, or mail

  2. Seeing well at night or in dimly lighted rooms

  3. Driving

  4. Performing routine household tasks

  5. Seeing the TV

  6. Recognizing people across the room

  7. Seeing curbs and cracks in the sidewalk

  8. 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:

  1. Cataracts

  2. Diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity

  3. Glaucoma

  4. Macular degeneration (including age related macular degeneration)

For a comprehensive glossary of eye conditions, visit the American Foundation for the Blind website.

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.

Contact us at (630) 690-7115 or at info@spectrios.org.

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.