Low Vision Treatment

Low vision exists when conventional glasses and contact lenses do not fully correct vision leaving individuals visually impaired. A variety of conditions can result in low vision, such as inoperable cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration has a devastating impact on vision leaving individuals unable to read, drive or identify faces at a distance.

A low vision evaluation determines the need for adaptive devices that can supplement conventional glasses. There are a number of low vision treatments available to assist the visually impaired.

Lighting: This is the simplest but most critical. One should never skimp on light. Lighting should be concentrated with an enclosed shade positioned on the side of the better eye. Types of illumination may vary with patients. Some prefer halogen or incandescent bulbs, while others prefer fluorescent. Make sure that the light is bright, adjustable and close to the reading material.

Visual Aids: To enhance vision with magnification, a variety of optical devices are available. Hand magnifiers come in a variety of sizes and powers. The rule is that larger magnifiers tend to be weaker while smaller magnifiers are stronger. There are also stand magnifiers that sit directly on the reading material. These are better for older individuals that might not be steady enough to hold a magnifier. All magnifiers can come with or without lighting.

Telescopes can be used to magnify distance vision, such as television, theater, and sporting events. Some individuals within state standards may be licensed to drive with telescopic glasses. Electronic magnifiers zoom in and project reading material onto a monitor. These devices (which are similar to computers) are much more versatile than optical devices, but not as portable and are a little more expensive.

Non-Optical Devices: These are large print, large number and talking devices. Large print books are readily available as are a number of publications, such as the Reader’s Digest and New York Times. Talking books is a free service for the visually impaired that is available through your local library. Everyday items are available in large numbered or talking such as watches, phones, calculators and even microwave ovens.