Can a Low Vision Exam Help Me?

by Aug 4, 2020

No one wants to lose their vision, and our eye doctors are always taking care to keep you seeing your best. However, for a variety of reasons, sometimes people can permanently lose much of their vision and nothing can be done to prevent it. People very rarely go completely blind – that is, seeing absolutely nothing out of an eye – but rather come to a state called low vision. This means that either visual acuity (the smallest letters you can read on the chart), visual field (the range of your peripheral vision), or both are irreversibly decreased to a certain point that interferes with normal daily activities. 


What is Low Vision

Formally, low vision is defined as having a visual acuity (measured from an eye chart) of 20/70 or worse in the better seeing eye after being maximally corrected with glasses or contacts. However, it can also be defined functionally as any level of vision that reduces or eliminates one’s ability to perform daily necessary activities. This could be determined by a variety of factors such as visual acuity, contrast/ glare sensitivity, or the size of one’s visual field. Our optometrists’ role is to assess the effect of the decreased visual functioning and provide the best solutions to return an individual to their desired tasks or favourite pastimes.


Understanding the Low Vision Assessment 

At your low vision assessment, our eye doctor will collect information on the history of your condition, your lifestyle, what activities are your goals, what optical devices you are currently using, and the support services you are taking part in. They will then test how well you can see and what prescription gets you to see your absolute best vision. After that, our optometrist will suggest various low vision tools that you can try on your own to determine which will allow you to achieve your visual goals.


Low Vision Rehabilitation

Before beginning low vision rehabilitation, it is important to note that the point of rehabilitation is not to increase your vision; b allowing you to see a blackened spot or widening your visual field. The goal is to allow you to use your remaining vision, along with low vision aids/ tools, to complete the activities that are most important to you.  

Optical low vision aids include various types of magnifiers and minifiers to best suit the type of condition and vision loss you have. Magnifiers make things bigger, and are useful in cases of reduced visual acuity or missing parts of your visual field. Minifiers make things smaller and are useful if you have tunnel vision. These both come in various forms: from hand held lenses to electronic monitors to attachments for your current glasses.  

If you have lost your central vision, it may be suggested that you learn to look beside objects rather than right at them to use other parts of your vision. If you are missing a large portion of your visual field, our optometrist may try fitting you with prisms that can move objects in the area you cannot see into areas of your field that still remain. For any low vision condition, colored tints on spectacles, increased lighting in your environment, and counselling can also be very useful and important in helping you manage your condition the best you possibly can. 

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Our eye doctors at Nittany Eye Associates excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases. Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online with one of our highly trained optometrists if you would like to learn more our low vision examinations and tools to help maximize your vision. Be sure to visit Nittany Eye Associates where we always put the care of you and your family first at our convenient locations in State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas.


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