Causes and treatments of low vision

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The term “low vision” can refer to various vision conditions, such as partial sight, uncorrectable sight, tunnel vision, blind spots, legal blindness and almost total blindness. From a medical perspective, low vision is a subspecialty with optometrists and ophthalmologists who deal with patients with poor eyesight. In most cases, patients receiving this kind of care are unable to get 20/20 eyesight even with the help of most advanced corrective glasses or contact lenses.

Related factors that decide the degree of low vision

Consequences for low vision include blurriness or lack of acuity, decreased ability to distinguish colors, low contrast sensitivity and abnormal spatial relationship perception. People with low vision may have vision problems in central vision zone or/and peripheral vision zone. Some of them also suffer low night vision. Visual acuity is only a feasible predictor to decide the degree of low vision. Visual acuity between 20/30 and 20/60 is considered mild vision loss and severe low vision ranges from 20/200 to 20/400. But the overall degree of vision loss is determined by all of the factors described above.

Age-related eye diseases cause a majority of low vision cases

Low vision has many potential causes. Some children may acquire low vision from heredity or birth defect, while other children develop low vision from various eye injuries. In most cases, low vision occurs in seniors. In old people, eye disease is the major contributor to low vision problems. Eye diseases that may cause low vision include cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Some of them affect central vision and others damage peripheral vision. In this sense, the seniors are highly encouraged to take proper care of their eyes. It is estimated that more than 82% of the blind people are 50 years of age and older.

Low vision affects people’s social life and dependency

Low vision can cause many social and life problems. The Lighthouse International estimates that only 43.7% of visually impaired Americans between 21 and 64 are fully employed, versus an 80 percentage among those with normal vision. Visually impaired people may have difficulty in daily lives such as driving, reading newspapers and images, watching television and using computer. Unable to do these normal things, individuals may feel frustration and depression. They have to rely on their friends and relatives, and sometimes they may feel lonely. They are to some extent independent.

Available remedies for low vision

Fortunately, there are some remedies for low vision problems, such as magnifiers, telescopes and video magnifiers. Before taking these low vision aids, you should receive a comprehensive eye exam to search out potential, underlying eye diseases. Low vision symptoms may be primary signs of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. In some cases, low vision can be improved by removing underlying causes. For those with vision loss that can not be cured by normal treatments, they can resort to low vision devices prescribed by a low vision specialist. Of course, large-face printed materials, audio tapes and special light fixtures also offer help.