In cases where standard prescription eyeglasses are not sufficient to help manage vision loss, there are a number of low vision optical devices to choose from. These devices can make a huge difference in the lives of those who struggle with seeing clearly.
Low vision is common among the elderly since eyes change as we get older. Vision loss is also a problem for millions of younger people. If corrections have been made to your vision but is still not 20/20, this is considered low vision.
Low vision optical devices are much like tools that are task-specific. For example, if you are building a house, you need a hammer for certain tasks and a saw for other jobs. A doctor might prescribe a variety of different low vision devices and products so a person can accomplish various tasks. Perhaps they will recommend one or two devices for reading, another device for watching television, and a different device for sewing. Some people with vision loss also have problems with light sensitivity, so they are prescribed sunglasses to reduce glare and protect their eyes from ultraviolet rays.
Low vision loss can include loss of central vision, loss of peripheral vision, blurred vision, or night blindness. Low vision optical devices and products include hand-held magnifiers, strong magnifying reading glasses, loupes, as well as small telescopes. These are different from commercially available devices.
Instead of taking matters into your own hands, it is best to see an eye doctor who can guide you to the right low vision products that can help you. Below is a list of the various devices that a doctor may choose from, including low vision magnifiers. Low vision equipment is classified as either “Near” optical for close-up detailed viewing, or “Distance” optical for spot or short-term viewing and activities that are farther away.
For those who have just recently developed vision loss, there can be some hesitation or fear. They wonder if visual aid devices are really going to make any difference. Eye doctors will argue that people don’t have to completely lose their independence due to low vision. They maintain that visual aids can make a big difference when it comes to feeling independent.
In one recent study, only 16 percent of low vision patients were able to read. However, when they used visual aid devices, their ability to read suddenly jumped to 94 percent. It is interesting to note that low vision products are responsible for helping low vision sufferers increase their reading speed from 20 words per minute with no vision devices to 72 words per minute with an aid.
According to a national health survey, over 22 million American adults have trouble seeing, even with eyeglasses or contact lenses, or they are blind. These people are encouraged to consider low vision devices and speaking to a mobility specialist who can teach them how to adapt to a life with these devices. With some assistance from eye specialists, family, friends, and low vision equipment, people with vision loss can feel more empowered and fulfilled.