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Low Vision

Get in touch with a specialist at The Focal Pointe in Tallahassee, Florida.

It is alarming when your vision becomes insufficient.

Low Vision is a branch of optometry which provides examinations and specialty aids for patients whose vision is not sufficiently compensated for with ordinary eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine, or vision correction surgery.

Low Vision specialists strive to help patients with any impairment from a moderate vision deficit to complete blindness. A person is legally blind if the best corrected vision in the better eye is 20/200 or worse, or if the peripheral vision is lost and only a small angle of ‘straight ahead’ vision remains. But many people with vision deficits can get substantial help from a Low Vision exam.

What Causes Low Vision?

Certain eye diseases or health conditions can cause low vision. Some of these include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, inherited retinal degenerative diseases, glaucoma, and optic nerve atrophy. Birth defects, stroke, a person’s age, and eye injuries may also contribute to low vision.

In addition to doing all that is possible to preserve the eyes from vision loss, the next step is to get an exam from a Low Vision specialist so that best advantage can be taken of the vision that remains..

How Do I Know If I Have Low Vision?

If you experience any of these symptoms while wearing corrective lenses or contacts, you may benefit from a low vision exam:

  • Difficulty recognizing the faces of family and friends
  • Unable to read, see objects or do regular activities or hobbies
  • Feeling like lights seem dimmer than usual
  • Having trouble reading signs and posts
  • Unable to distinguish color differences

What Is a Low Vision Eye Exam?

The goal of a Low Vision exam is to enhance any vision that remains for the patient. Therefore, the approach for this sort of exam is different from a conventional eye exam. In many cases, one eye is much stronger than the other, so exam efforts may solely focus on the better eye.

It is very important that an optometrist who specializes in Low Vision perform the exam. This is a critical step in developing the most effective treatment plan for the patient.

The exam generally includes:

  • A comprehensive health and eye health history, including current functional problems
  • A thorough eye exam
  • Preliminary tests, including assessment of ocular functions such as depth perception, color vision, contrast sensitivity and curvature of the eye
  • Measurements of your visual acuity using special low vision test charts
  • Evaluation of visual fields
  • A specialized low vision refraction test
  • Demonstration of high power lenses and electronic devices

How Is Low Vision Treated?

Each type of low vision problem requires a different therapeutic approach;  there are diverse vision aids and rehabilitation therapies to effectively maximize visual functioning for activities of daily living.

Low Vision Aids and Rehabilitation

Some more commonly prescribed low vision aids include:

  • Hand-held or electronic magnifiers
  • Spectacle-mounted magnifiers
  • Hand-held or spectacle-mounted telescopes
  • Implantable telescopes
  • Assistive tools such as closed-circuit TV, large-print texts, talking devices and special light fixtures

Low vision rehabilitation is also an important component of treatment. An optometrist who provides low vision rehabilitative services can provide the help and resources needed to gain back the independence and freedom that once seemed lost. People with low vision can be trained in a variety of techniques to perform daily activities with what vision remains.

Help is available — do not wait any longer to learn how low vision rehabilitation and The Focal Pointe can make all the difference! Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Allan Dean, our Low Vision Specialist, who is a charter member of the Rehabilitation Section of the American Optometric Association (AOA) and is a consultant for the Division of Blind Services in Florida.