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Low Vision

Low Vision

"With my vision, when I look at the target, it looks as if different colour paints have been dropped in water. The boundaries are not that clear and the lines between the colours are very blurred.” This is how Im Dong-hyun describes his vision. His left eye vision is 20/200 (which means he needs to be ten times closer to an object than a normal man) while that in his right is 20/100. Sounds ho-hum? Not if you were told the fact that this low vision clinched the first world record of the 2012 Olympics in Archery!

What is Low Vision?

Low Vision means having a permanently impaired vision which cannot be improved by medication, glasses or surgical procedures. The extent of your vision loss, diseases causing it and type of vision defect can vary a lot from patient to patient. However, the common factor is the difficulty it causes in your daily activities, work or leisure, and quality of life in general.



What causes Low Vision?

• Macular Degeneration: In this disease there is damage to the cells of your macula (an area in the center of your retina). This affects your central vision, which is our detailed vision when we look directly at something.
• Glaucoma: Here, there is damage to your optic nerve from increased pressure inside your eye. This affects your peripheral vision first, which is the lesser detailed vision when we see things around the sides of what we are looking at.
• Diabetic Retinopathy: Long standing high blood sugars in a diabetic can cause damage to the blood vessels of your retina. This can affect your central or peripheral vision
• Stroke: Lack of blood supply to your brain can affect your optic nerve, thus causing vision disturbances. This affects one side of your peripheral vision.
• Retinitis Pigmentosa: This is an eye disease in which there is degeneration of your retina.
• Albinism: This is an inherited condition in which your eyes lack a pigment called melanin.
• Cataract: The lens of your eye gets clouded causing blurriness of vision.
• Eye Cancer
• Eye Injuries or Brain Injuries

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Finding it difficult to read, write, watch TV, drive, shop, cook, or recognize people
Finding that lights appear dijmmer than before
Having trouble matching colours
Night Blindness
Blurry vision



What are the tests for Low Vision?

Visual Acuity testing
Tests for depth perception
Colour Vision Testing
Visual Field Testing
Measurement of curvature of front surface of your eye
Tests specific to your disease



What is the treatment for Low Vision?

As nothing much can be done to improve your eye sight, the entire focus is shifted on rehabilitation. Hence you just need to apply new ways of doing your old activities rather than giving up on them entirely. The following low vision aids can help you:

• Magnifiers: These may be held in your hand, worn around your neck or mounted on to your spectacles or a stand.
• Good Lighting: Using a gooseneck lamp, reducing glare by wearing amber glasses or covering shiny counters, positioning the light properly can help a lot.
• Telescopes: Binoculars and miniature telescopes can help with distance vision.
• Special eyeglasses: Bifocal or trifocal glasses, prismatic reading glasses are available.
• Adaptive aids: large print cook books, colour coded medicine boxes, large numbered telephones and watches, etc. can be very helpful.