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Low Vision Awareness

Most people think of vision as coming in two forms: good or bad. However, with Americans now living significantly longer lives, vision loss, or "low vision", from eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy has become a huge issue among older people. In the United States alone, 16.5 million persons over age 45 report having some vision loss (*1995 Lighthouse National Survey on Vision Loss" data). People are considered to have "low vision" when their eyesight cannot be corrected by ordinary glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.

Many adults are not as conscientious as they should be about getting routine annual checkups from an eye care professional. You may need a specific examination for low vision if you have difficulty reading the newspaper or other fine print, even while wearing glasses; seeing traffic signals or highway signs; seeing the curb when walking; adapting to light when entering indoors; or if you have trouble with sun glare.

Conducted by specially trained optometrists and ophthalmologists, the low vision examination is designed to accurately evaluate how one's vision functions in day-to-day living. It is not only about how well you see an eye chart, but also how well you see faces, street signs, newspaper print, and all the other visual clues that guide you through the day.

As a result of this examination, you may be prescribed specific devices such as magnifiers to make best use of your existing vision. In addition, vision rehabilitation counselors can help to maximize any remaining sight, as well as equip individuals with the techniques to maintain an independent lifestyle.

Created: 3/16/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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