What Is Low Vision?

Low vision refers to vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses. A person with low vision must learn to adjust to it.

The good news: There are many ways to help so that people with low vision can continue to do things that are important to them. Losing vision does not mean giving up activities, but it may mean learning new ways to do them.
Vision rehabilitation helps patients to learn new strategies and find devices that can assist them.

Patterns of Vision and Vision Loss

Central vision
This is the detailed vision we use when we look directly at something. Conditions that damage the macula (center of the retina), like macular degeneration (AMD) may affect central vision.
Peripheral vision
This is the less-detailed vision we use to see at the edges of our vision, outside the area we’re looking directly at. Glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa often affect peripheral vision first.
Diabetic retinopathy strokes, and cerebral/cortical visual impairment can affect the peripheral and central vision in either eye.
Contrast sensitivity
This is the ability to distinguish between objects of similar tones like milk in a white cup or to distinguish facial features. Most eye problems can decrease contrast sensitivity.
Depth perception
This is the ability to judge the position of objects in the space around you. Vision loss in one eye, or damage to the brain can affect depth perception, such as gauging the height of a step or reaching for a cup.

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