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Don't Let Low Vision Keep You Down

  • Category: Articles by Clinicians
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Debra Ouellette, MS, OTR/L, BCPR, SCLV, FNAP Outpatient Clinical Coordinator
Don't Let Low Vision Keep You Down

Vision is one of the most important senses, and losing even a small portion of your field of vision can greatly impact your daily life.. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vision loss causes a substantial social and economic toll for millions of people, including significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life.

“Low vision” is the term used to refer to a vision impairment that is not fully correctable by surgery, medications, contact lenses, or glasses. When someone’s vision is impaired to a degree that they struggle with daily life tasks—things like reading, cooking, computer and smart phone use, or even recognizing faces—they may be medically diagnosed as having low vision.

There are many root causes of this debilitating condition. In the United States, the most common ones are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. In addition, individuals with traumatic brain injury, optic nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, or those who have experienced a stroke may have low vision.

Thankfully, there are physicians and occupational therapists that specialize in low vision. Working closely with your primary care physician, these experts assess your functional needs and capabilities as well as any limitations that have been caused by your vision impairment, with a particular focus on reading, cooking, work, self-care, and any other common activities that have been affected by your vision loss. Your occupational therapist who specializes in low vision intervention can teach you how to use your remaining vision as functionally as possible. Simple modifications and/or technology including apps to assist with your daily tasks may be introduced. Training may include eccentric viewing for central vision loss; visual scanning for peripheral vision loss; environmental modifications and assistive devices, and assistive technology training with smartphones, tablets, computers and voice-activated devices to help you regain independence.

Do not let loss of vision keep you from enjoying a free, independent life. Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare offers a variety of innovative interventions and therapies to treat low vision resulting from stroke, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, macular degeneration, brain injury, and more. Our certified low vision specialists will create a customized treatment plan to help you maximize your remaining vision. Please call 909/596-7733, ext. 3500 to learn more.