Low Vision: What You Need to Know As You Age

Low Vision: What You Need to Know As You Age

Low Vision: What You Need to Know As You Age

Your ability to conduct daily tasks may suffer due to your eyesight steadily deteriorating with age. People with low vision cannot correct their eyesight using eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. This condition may significantly affect a person's safety, independence, and quality of life. 



What Is Low Vision?


This visual impairment cannot improve with corrective eyewear, medication, or surgery. Low-vision sufferers could still have some functional vision, but it is insufficient for everyday tasks like reading, driving, or identifying people. People of all ages can experience low vision, but older ones are more likely to experience it.





The following disorders can cause vision loss:


  • Age-related macular degeneration

  • Glaucoma

  • Cataracts

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • Retinitis pigmentosa


Age-related macular degeneration is the primary cause of poor vision in persons over 50. It affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, detailed vision. Optic nerve damage from glaucoma prevents the eye from communicating with the brain. 


Cataracts are cloudy areas that form in the lens, causing blurred vision. Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, which affects the blood vessels in the retina and impairs eyesight. A genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa affects the retina and results in progressive visual loss.



Symptoms of Low Vision


The symptoms of low vision vary with the underlying cause. Typical signs and symptoms include the following:


  • Loss of central or peripheral vision

  • Blurred vision

  • Distorted vision

  • Difficulties seeing at night or in low light

  • Hazy vision


Individuals with low vision may need help to read, watch TV, recognize people, or perform simple duties like cooking or cleaning. They may also experience headaches, eyestrain, and fatigue from trying to see.



Managing Low Vision



While there is no cure for low vision, there are strategies to manage it and enhance the quality of life. Here are some strategies that may help:



Assistive Devices


Assistive devices can help people with low vision perform everyday tasks more efficiently. These devices include magnifiers, telescopes, electronic aids, and reading glasses. Magnifiers can enlarge text, pictures, and objects. Telescopes can help them see things from a distance. Electronic aids can use cameras and screens to display enlarged images. Reading glasses can improve near vision.





Good lighting can make a significant difference for people with low vision. It can be easier to see with bright lighting because it can lessen glare and boost contrast. All rooms, including the kitchen, living room, and bedroom, need sufficient illumination. Natural light is also beneficial, so opening curtains and blinds during the day can help.





Increasing contrast can help improve visibility. High contrast colors, like black and white, can make objects and writing easier to distinguish. It may be simpler to read white lettering on a black backdrop than black letters on a white background.



Organizing the Environment

Organizing the home environment can make it easier to navigate and find things. Labeling drawers, cabinets, and containers with large, high contrast letters can help identify their contents. Placing furniture and objects in consistent locations can also help.



Support Groups


Joining a support group for people with low vision can provide emotional support, information, and resources. Support groups also present chances for sharing experiences and learning from others facing similar difficulties.





Low vision is a challenging but manageable problem that affects many older adults. By working with your eye doctor, exploring assistive technology, and making simple lifestyle changes, you can maintain your independence and enjoy the activities you love. Remember, vision loss is not a barrier to a fulfilling life.


For more information on low vision, visit Grand Eye Care at our office in River Grove, Illinois. Call (708) 816-2020 to schedule an appointment today.

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