Low vision is a term that refers to vision 20/70 or worse that cannot be fully corrected by glasses or contact lenses. People with low vision generally fall into two groups: partially sighted (meaning they have a visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 with the aid of corrective lenses), and legally blind (meaning vision is no better than 20/200 with regular correction aids). 

What Causes Low Vision?

Eye diseases are a common cause of low vision and many eye diseases have no early symptoms. Regular eye exams are important to check for early warning signs of serious eye and other health concerns. Between exams, it is important to let your eye care professional know if you notice any changes in your vision or if your eye is injured in any way.

There are a wide variety of causes of low vision, including:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetes/Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Inherited diseases
  • Eye injury

Symptoms of Low Vision

A thorough eye examination is needed to diagnose causes of low vision. People with low vision may experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of central vision
  • Night blindness
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Hazy vision

Treatments for Low Vision

Low vision cannot be fully corrected. However, there are a wide array of devices to help people with low vision, including tinted eyewear to help with light sensitivity and contrast, magnifiers (hand held and for digital or computer use), and large-print reading materials or audio recordings.

There are certain eye care professionals who specialize in rehabilitation for low vision, who can help you continue many of your normal activities with some modifications. Ask your eye care professional if this may help you.


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