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