- What does the term 'low vision' mean?
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of low vision states
- How do I know if I have low vision?
- What causes low vision?
- What is a low vision evaluation?
- What can I do about my low vision?
- How can we help? - How can we help identify your low vision problem?
What does the term 'low vision' mean?
The definition of low vision and the distinctions between blindness and low vision varies considerably from country to country. Each government forms its own laws and interprets them in whatever manner is most suited to its agenda. Low vision patients suffer particularly because often there is no separate definition of low vision, and someone with middling vision. According to the laws of one's country, such people have to either compete on the same level as people with normal sight or as totally blind, with total disregard of their residual or partial vision.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of low vision states
"A person with low vision is one who has impairment of visual functioning even after treatment and/or standard refractive correction, and has a visual acuity of less than 6/18 to light perception, or a visual field of less than 10° from the point of fixation, but who uses, or is potentially able to use, vision for the planning and/or execution of a task." (WHO document on the management of low vision in children, 1992)
Or, in simple terms, people who have trouble seeing with ordinary spectacles or lenses, or whose eyesight is just short of blindness are said to have low vision.
How do I know if I have low vision?
A person is said to have low vision if his/her vision cannot be improved with standard methods like conventional glasses, medical or surgical procedures.
However, people with low vision may have useful residual vision that can be improved upon with the help of optical devices and visual rehabilitation services. Vision rehabilitation provides a comprehensive approach that focuses on rehabilitating an individual to his/her maximum potential.
What causes low vision?
Low vision can result from a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye. Many people with low vision have age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. In fact, age-related macular degeneration accounts for almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision.
What is a low vision evaluation?
A specialist checks the patient's eye with optical and functional vision enhancing devices and methods, to try and optimize the residual vision and help the patient to lead as normal a life as possible.
What can I do about my low vision?
While many people may have good vision throughout their life, people above the age of 65 have a higher risk of developing low vision. You and your eye doctor or specialist in low vision need to work together to discover and achieve what is best for you. Crucial to this discovery is clear and comprehensive communication.
At LVPEI rehabilitation professionals prescribe simple low vision devices to patients. These include magnifying lenses and telescopes, as well as special reading stands and lamps that heighten contrast and improve illumination. However, the first step that needs to be taken is the identification of the problem of low vision.
How can we help? - How can we help identify your low vision problem?
The first and most important step is to get sound medical advice on your problem. The quicker the disease or disorder is identified and diagnosed, the better the chances of limiting the damage and improving, or even reversing, the condition.
At LVPEI the initial diagnosis for all patients is done at the Out Patient Department (OPD), unless the patient has been referred directly to our rehabilitation centre by another centre or eye clinic. All other patients are carefully examined for any possibility of being helped by surgery or medication or the use of ordinary glasses and contact lenses. Only when it is clear that such methods are of no use, is the patient sent on to the next stage of vision rehabilitation.