What is Low Vision?

Everyday Tasks Are Challenging

Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can seem challenging.

Millions of Americans lose some of their vision every year. Irreversible vision loss is most common among people over age 65.

(Watch the video to learn more about low vision. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Not a Normal Part of Aging

Losing vision is not just part of getting older. Some normal changes occur as we get older. However, these changes usually don’t lead to low vision.

Signs of Low Vision

There are many signs that can signal vision loss. For example, even with your regular glasses, do you have difficulty

  • recognizing faces of friends and relatives?
  • doing things that require you to see well up close, such as reading, cooking, sewing, fixing things around the house, or picking out and matching the color of your clothes?
  • doing things at work or home because lights seem dimmer than they used to?
  • reading street and bus signs or the names of stores?

Early Diagnosis Is Important

Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. People over age 60 should have an eye exam through dilated pupils at least once a year. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better your chances of undergoing successful treatment and keeping your remaining vision.

Regular dilated eye exams should be part of your routine health care. However, if you think your vision has recently changed, you should see your eye care professional as soon as possible.


Ask About Vision Rehabilitation

If your eye care professional says, “Nothing more can be done for your vision,” ask about vision rehabilitation. Find out where you can get more information about services and devices that can help you.

A specialist in low vision is an optometrist or ophthalmologist who is trained to evaluate vision. This person can prescribe visual devices and teach people how to use them.

Adapting to Vision Loss

Rehabilitation programs, devices, and technology can help you adapt to vision loss. They may help you keep doing many of the things you did before.

These programs also offer a wide range of services, such as low vision evaluations and special training to use visual and adaptive devices. They also offer guidance for making changes in your home as well as group support from others with low vision.

Special Visual Devices

There are specific visual devices and training on how to use them. Many people require more than one visual device. They may need magnifying lenses for close-up viewing and telescopic lenses for seeing in the distance. Some people may need to learn how to get around their neighborhoods.

Information contained in this document was prepared and / or used with authors permission by The Inspired Living Institute by Posada Life. All copywrite and protected content is reprinted with permission and intended for general educational purposes only. Content is not intended to diagnosis or treat any specific condition. Related content provided the National Eye Institute, National Institute for Health, National Institute for Senior Health and the National Institute on Aging. Healthhttps://nei.nih.gov/ National Institute on Aging · 31 Center Drive, MSC 2292 · Bethesda, MD · 20892 · 800-222-2225. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/



Information contained in this document was prepared and or used with authors’ permission, if applicable, by Posada Life. All material, copyright and protected content is reprinted with permission from original author, providing appropriate citation or is intended for general educational purposes only. Content is not intended to diagnosis or treat any specific condition. Posada Life not responsible for content or materials provided by third parties or government agencies. U.S Government cited content provided by: National Institute on Aging (https://www.nia.nih.gov/), National Institute for Health (https://www.nih.gov/), U.S. Department of Health (http://www.hhs.gov/), National Institute for Senior Health (https://nihseniorhealth.gov/).