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Low Vision

A person with low vision is not blind: they have some useful sight. But the degree of their visual impairment can make daily tasks, such as reading and driving, difficult or impossible. Though children as well as adults can be visually impaired, low vision is mostly a problem that afflicts seniors. Vision loss after a lifetime of good eyesight can be very traumatic, leading to frustration and depression.

Many people who develop eye problems that cause low vision lose their jobs. According to Lighthouse International, among visually impaired Americans of ages 21 to 64, only 43.7% are employed. Among normally-sighted people in this age group, 80% are employed.

Not being able to drive safely, read quickly, or easily see images on a television or computer screen can cause people with low vision to feel shut off from the world. They may be unable to get around town independently, earn a living or even shop for food and other necessities. Some visually impaired people become completely dependent on friends and relatives, while others suffer alone.

Thankfully, in many cases, people with impaired vision can be helped by low vision devices, which include eyeglass-mounted magnifiers, handheld magnifiers and telescopes, and stand-alone magnifiers. There are many ingenious low vision devices and strategies that can help visually-impaired individuals get the most out of their remaining sight and, in many cases, continue to live independently.

If your eye doctor finds you have a vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyewear, medical treatment or surgery, they can refer you to a low vision specialist. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is an incredibly valuable resource.

Source: Low Vision, article by AllAboutVision.com. ©2009 Access Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction other than for one-time personal use is strictly prohibited.