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Low Vision

Low Vision

Did you know?

About 2.5 billion people see poorly but don’t have corrected vision, yet 80% of those vision problems are preventable.




Low vision is a term used to describe a state of reduced eyesight that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. There are several things which can cause low vision. These include eye diseases or eye or brain injuries. Low vision can also be inherited. It is characterized by reduced visual acuity (20/70 or worse) or reduced field of view.  

Low vision can affect people of all ages, but is more common in the elderly. The elderly are at the highest risk for eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. These conditions are some of the most common causes of low vision. People with low vision might have: 

  • Complete central or peripheral vision loss 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Poor low-light vision 
  • Loss of light sensitivity 
  • Loss of contrast 

This can make daily activities such as reading, writing, watching TV, or writing hard or impossible. As this vision loss cannot be corrected, a person with low vision will have to make strategic changes to their daily life. These will involve techniques and vision aids to maximize their independence and overall quality of life.  

The Causes of Low Vision: 

  • Eye diseases (glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinas pigmentation) 
  • Eye injury 
  • Brain injury 
  • Heredity 

How does low vision affect eyesight?  

Low vision covers a range of partial vision loss that presents differently in different people. Depending on the severity, type, and cause and cause of low vision, patients might have some useful vision. Usually, low vision involves visual acuity of less than 20/70, blurred vision, blind spots, significant visual field loss, and tunnel vision. This can include a visual acuity of 20/200 or less, which is considered legal blindness. A person with low vision may be almost completely blind in some cases. 

Low Vision And Daily Life 

Depending on the extent of the vision loss, completing daily tasks might become difficult. Daily tasks including reading, driving, cooking, and recognizing people may become difficult or impossible.  

While this diagnosis can be shocking, there is good news. There are numerous products and resources available to those with low vision to help them adjust and go about their daily lives. However, this diagnosis often takes an emotional toll. As it often results in a person’s inability to function independently, work, and do other things which they had become accustomed to, many patients feel isolated and depressed at first.  

Visual Rehabilitation and Visual Aids 

When someone has low vision, it means that a limited amount of their sight remains. There are millions of people living with low vision that function well with the help of visual rehabilitation or visual aids.  

What Are Visual Aids? 

These devices help people with low vision by maximizing what remains of their eyesight. Handheld, mounted, or stand-alone magnifiers, telescopes, and other tools that enlarge images to make them more visible are often used. Other visual aids reduce glare and enhance contrast, making it easier for those with low vision to see. Other aids act as guides which help the person focus on non-visual cues such as sound or touch. Patients must consult with professionals to find the ideal visual aids for their needs and lifestyle. 

Ways To Make Living With Low Vision Easier 

  • Make sure the lighting on your home suits you. Experiment with different lights and voltages to figure out what works best for you. 
  • Use a magnifier. There are many types available. 
  • Ask you vision specialist about specialized lenses for your specific condition. 
  • Read large print books or listen to audio-books. 
  • Make use of high contrast writing.  
  • Put high contrast stripe on the steps in your home so they remain visible to you.
  • Embrace technology that can help make your daily life easier.

If you or a loved one has developed low vision, there are many options available to help you maintain a high quality of life.  


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Dr. Olga Likhtman
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Dr. Olga Likhtman, OD is a top-ranked optometrist in the greater New York City area providing the most advanced care options for her patients. She is experienced in an array of state-of-the-art techniques, treatments and procedures for ocular conditions such as: chronic dry eye, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, eye infections, corneal abrasions, emergencies, acute and chronic issues such as conjunctivitis and floaters, as well as contact lens fittings.