Low vision isn’t typically related to natural aging although it’s most common in people 65 years old and older. Plus, it’s a condition that many people quickly dismiss as being part of aging and, thus, fail to seek proper medical attention at the likes of Sam’s Club or Pearle Vision.
You don’t have to be one of these people! Here are the things that you should know about low vision that can be of help to you or to a loved one.
What Are Its Symptoms?
Of course, you should visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you experience changes in your vision, as well as visit your eye care professional on an annual basis for a general check-up. You should also visit him or her when you observe the signs of low vision.
If you have difficulty in performing one or more of the following activities even when you have your eyeglasses or contact lenses on, then you may have low vision:
- Recognizing family and friends, sometimes even when they are in close proximity
- Reading, sewing and cooking, as well as fixing things
- Seeing clearly even with bright lights on (or alternatively, you feel that the lights are dimmer than usual)
- Determining the color and style of your clothes
- Reading store signs and/or traffic signs even when these are in large and bold print
Keep in mind, too, that it may not just be low vision that may be causing these symptoms. Your eye care professional will perform comprehensive eye tests to arrive at a definite diagnosis.
What Are Its Causes?
There are possible causes for low vision including glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, birth defects, eye cancer, eye injuries, and albinism. But whatever the cause, the lost vision can neither be recovered nor restored.
The good news: You can manage low vision, if you have been diagnosed with it, with vision rehabilitation and appropriate treatment.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Regular eye exams can detect low vision so it’s important to see your ophthalmologist for this reason. Your eye care professional will conduct a complete eye exam that usually includes with questions about your medical history, your eye-related symptoms, and possible underlying health issues. You will also undergo tests designed to check your eyes’ health status, said tests of which may involve bright lights and instruments.
While low vision is a permanent loss of vision, it doesn’t mean that your life as you know it will end. You can still go about your life but you have to make adjustments that will maximize your vision, and your eye care professional can make effective suggestions.