Are you experiencing blurry vision – not seeing well enough to do everyday tasks like reading and driving? You may be suffering from low vision. Low vision is most often a symptom, not a condition on its own. It is common in individuals suffering from vision problems like age related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
If you are suffering from low vision there is still time to receive vision services and eye care to begin your road to recovery. The optometrists with Nationwide Optometry can help diagnose and treat low vision across Arizona.
Types of Low Vision
There are a few different variations of low vision and each one can create unique challenges and vision loss.
Central vision loss - a blind spot in the center of the visual field
Peripheral vision loss - loss of side vision in either one or both eyes or lose of top and bottom vision in one or both eyes
Night blindness - the inability to see in poorly lit areas such as outside at night or in movie theaters
Blurry - objects near and far are out of focus
hazy vision - the field of vision appears to be covered in a film or haze
Risk Factors For Low Vision
While anyone can experience low vision, it is most common in adults over age 45 and is even more common in adults over 75. In fact, one in 6 aged 45+ have this condition and one in 4 adults over 75 have low vision. Low vision is caused by a variety of eye conditions and eye injuries. For example, diabetes may cause diabetic retinopathy which will place an individual at an increased risk of developing low vision.
Other common causes of low vision are macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Macular degeneration is a disorder that affects the retina and its cause is largely unknown, but age is a primary contributor as is smoking and nutrition. A cataract is when part of all of the lens in the eye is clouded. They can be caused by genetics, long term exposure to UV radiation, and disease. A glaucoma occurs when there is increased pressure in the eye caused by problems with fluid drainage. A glaucoma will then cause damage to the optic nerve and the first signs of a glaucoma are difficulty with night vision and loss or change in peripheral vision.
Diagnosing Low Vision
Low vision is defined as having less than 20/70 eyesight, therefore a standard dilated eye exam can diagnose the condition. This exam is painless and your eye care provider will ask you to read letters while they conduct a visual evaluation. They may also check your peripheral vision during the exam. Your doctor may also dilate your eyes to check for eye diseases and conditions that cause low vision. If you are older than 60, or African American and over 40, or have a family history of glaucoma you should get a low vision exam every one to two years.
If you’re having trouble with your sight or worried you may have low vision or an underlying vision condition, call Nationwide Vision to schedule an eye exam today!
To be considered legally blind your vision is 20/200 or less out of your better eye or, your field of vision is less than 20 degrees. Meaning, if an object is 200 feet away, you would have to be 20 feet from it to see it clearly. It is possible to have low vision and be legally blind, however, low vision starts at 20/70. Therefore most individuals with low vision are not considered legally blind. However, legal blindness can occur if the symptom is not addressed so it is very important to make an appointment for an eye exam as soon as you start to notice changes in your vision.
There are a number of things you can do to manage your low vision. Having a quality diet, exercise, getting enough rest, avoiding smoking, and having regular eye exams can all help people manage their low vision. Visual rehabilitation is commonly used to help those suffering with low vision. Your low vision specialist with Nationwide Optometry will help you to develop a visual rehabilitation plan that may include use of low vision devices such as magnifying lenses. In order to determine what vision devices you may require they will first conduct an evaluation to understand your needs and then a visual assessment to comprehend your vision. From there you will begin your rehabilitation which might include use of low vision devices or environment adjustments.
Nationwide Vision has locations all across Arizona including one near you. The optometrists there are knowledgeable about low vision and can perform many different kinds of eye examinations. Be sure to schedule an appointment at your closest Nationwide Vision for an eye exam today.