Low Vision, What Does It Mean?

What is low vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, that interferes with a person's ability to perform everyday activities.

What are the warning signs of low vision?

Some warning signs include the following:
  • Trouble reading, cooking, or sewing.
  • Trouble seeing because the lights don't seem as bright as usual.
  • Trouble recognizing the faces of friends and relatives.
  • Trouble crossing the street or reading signs.

A person who is having these vision difficulties should immediately make an appointment with an eye care professional for an eye examination. If the person's vision cannot be treated by conventional methods, such as glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, then he or she should ask the eye care professional for information about vision rehabilitation. These services may include eye examinations, a low vision evaluation, training on how to use visual and adaptive devices, support groups, and training on how to perform everyday activities in new ways.

What causes low vision?

Low vision can result from a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye. Many people with low vision have age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration accounts for almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision.