Low Vision may be congenital or acquired, and is defined as permanent vision loss where the vision cannot be improved with ordinary eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. Low Vision conditions may include:

  • Cataract
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Stargardt`s Syndrome
  • Retinal Detachments
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Albinism

How to assist your loved ones with permanent vision loss

A multidisciplinary team approach, consisting of Ophthalmology, Optometry, Occupational Therapy, support groups and would be considered ideal to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and support the visually impaired patient or family member so as to ultimately maximise individual independence. It would be the team’s responsibility to source and supply suitable visual assistive devices, among other, illumination and magnification devices.

LOW VISION DEVICES CAN INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

 Make things brighter

Specialised LED reading lamps which optimise the light intensity and contrast. They vastly improve the near task and reading ability of the low vision patient. A large variety of these devices are commercially available.

Special tinted filters

Much research and development bring specially designed fit over tinted spectacles as an option to improve visual comfort as well as contrast. These can be worn over the existing spectacle prescription.

High addition spectacles

High powered prismatic reading spectacles are beneficial as they allow for a large variety of magnification powers beyond the regular reading spectacles available. Correctly prescribed, these devices could allow the patient to regain reading of regular size print and near task activities once again. The working distance of the device is determined by the magnification power.

Magnifiers

The choice of magnifiers is vast and varied. They can include pocket, hand held, stand, desktop, angled, illuminated and electronic. As the vision loss increases, the choice of magnifier and magnification increases. The patient may begin with a low magnification in a stand dome magnifier and be required to progress to the most powerful electronic magnifiers.

Telescopic Spectacles

Individually designed telescopic spectacles may be manufactured for the visually impaired. These are fitted into a standard or specialised frame and may be monocular or binocular. Special optical caps, consisting of increasing powers, are attached to the front of the telescope as required, so as to allow for magnification at pre-selected working distances. This system allows working distance clarity yet reduced field of view.

Electronic Devices

Electronic magnifiers are available in hand, stand and desktop types. These greatly enhance the life of the visually impaired by creating more patient independence. Magnification can vary from as little as 2X yet progress to 70X in the same device. Modern devises available for the visually impaired may have voice recognition as well as optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities that will store and read an A4 page back to you. Such a device is the smartphone Smart Vision 2 from Kapsys and is a life changing smart phone for the visually impaired:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HtkUYK7zMo