Low Vision: Make the Most of What You HavePosted by Medicare Made Clear
When it comes to vision, many people think you either have it or you don’t. Not so. Many people fall somewhere in the middle. This middle area is called low vision.
What is Low Vision?
There are many types of vision changes considered normal as a person gets older, but low vision isn’t one of them. In other words, low vision is not a normal result of aging.
According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people may still find everyday tasks difficult to do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can seem challenging.1
Low vision can affect people in different ways. For example, one person’s side view or peripheral vision may be limited but their central field of vision (directly in front of them) may be good, allowing them to read a book without problems. Another person’s peripheral vision may be good, but their central field of vision is blurry, so they may have trouble reading words on a page.
Risk Factors of Low Vision
- Certain eye diseases or conditions, like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetes
- Eye injuries
- Birth defects
If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, such as difficulty reading or seeing things up close, not being able to see highway signs you could once read, or difficulty making out the details on people’s faces, schedule an eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These could be early signs of eye disease, which may cause low vision. Oftentimes, if eye disease is caught early, it’s possible to slow its progression and save more of your vision for a longer period of time.
There usually isn’t anything you can do to cure low vision. But, there may be ways to help make the most of the vision you have left. Your options may include:
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Visual adaptive devices (magnifying lenses or telescopic lenses)
- Special technologies
Watch the video to learn more about low vision.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
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What is Low Vision?: National Institutes of Health Senior Health (NIH)
Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.
¹What is Low Vision?: National Institutes of Health Senior Health (NIH), July 2013