Often we come across patients who are said to be suffering from low vision. Today in India about 13 million people are blind and 10.3 million are suffering from low vision. What is Low Vision? What causes low vision? How do we deal with it? Let us explore about this in detail.
Low vision is the loss of sight which cannot be treated by prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. This vision loss is not complete blindness and may sometimes improve with the use of visual aids. Therefore these patients are also known as partially sighted patients.
Low vision has different degrees of sight loss, central blindness, peripheral loss of vision or poor night vision.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined low vision as best corrected visual acuity of less than 6/18 to perception of light and/or loss of visual field less than 20 degrees. A person having vision of less than 6/60 is said to be legally blind. Only those patients who cannot see even light are said to be totally blind.
Age related macular degeneration Glaucoma Diabetic Retinopathy Injuries
Retinitis Pigmentosa Congenital (Birth defects of the eye) Genetic Disorders
Diagnosis of low vision can be made when inspite of spectacle correction, medications or surgeries the patient’s vision does not improve and daily tasks are affected. These patients need additional assistive devices to carry out daily activities like reading, writing, viewing distant objects, mobility etc.
In this case low vision cannot be fully corrected, but there are devices which help in this condition. A typical low vision evaluation involves a functional assessment including a low vision refraction to find out the problem and its extent. Once the impairment is identified, suitable vision aids such as magnifiers, telescopes and other appropriate assistive technologies are prescribed to maximize the patient’s vision. The patient is then gradually trained on how to use the low vision aids to conduct various daily activities. In addition, visual skills training such as eccentric viewing, blindness skills, mobility skills and referrals to comprehensive blind rehabilitation centers are provided. Raghudeep Eye Hospital’s team is extremely understanding and helpful when it comes to counseling patients with low vision. They also advise on alternative career options and learning methods for low vision patients.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
DR. VANDANA NATH
MBBS (BOM.) MS (OPHTHAL) DO, FREC
DR. Vandana Nath is an expert in the field of cataract and low vision rehabilitation. She has a rich experience and has authored many research papers.