Low Vision And Related Diseases

Ankit Shah

Low Vision Specialist

Low Vision

You age, your vision changes too. There are many things that can be done to correct this vision; glasses, contact lenses, medical treatment, or surgery. But if your eye doctor says you have low vision and none of these will work, you might need other solutions like magnifiers or talking clocks. Low vision means it could be hard for you to do everyday tasks, such as reading your mail, going shopping, cooking a meal, and signing a document.

Individuals over the age of 65, as well as African Americans and Hispanics over the age of 45, are at higher risk of developing diabetes or glaucoma which can lead to low vision. Have you been experiencing difficulties with tasks that require good eyesight? If so, it's possible that you have low vision. For example, without your eyeglasses, can you recognize your friends and relatives? Do you have difficulty reading, cooking, or fixing things around the house? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it's a strong indicator that you may have low vision.

Low vision among older people is often due to specific eye conditions. Examples of these are macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, and stroke. Low vision can restrict your ability to see people's faces, watch TV, read, or even match colors.

Discussing your vision with a professional is important to determine if your eyesight can be treated. When it comes to eyesight, many causes are treatable, such as through medicine or surgery.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the retina in the center of your vision. Dry macular degeneration is when the center of your retina deteriorates. Wet macular degeneration is when leaky blood vessels grow under the retina.

Blurred vision is a symptom of eye disease. Doctors recommend an AREDS formula to reduce progression. Surgery is also an option.


A common eye disorder that occurs when your lens becomes cloudy and makes it difficult to see. Cataracts develop slowly over the course of years. The main symptom is blurry vision. Cataracts can be like looking through a dirty windowpane, making it difficult to see clearly.

When a cataract disrupts someone's usual activities, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a clear, artificial one. This usually takes place in the doctor's office, without any hospitalization.


A glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage your vision and can cause blindness, but it has no symptoms at first. The most common type of glaucoma (open-angle glaucoma) is also called chronic or non-traumatic glaucoma.

It's slowly killing your field of vision, but its symptoms are usually nothing more than slow vision loss. Angle-closure glaucoma, which is rare, is actually a medical emergency.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the eye (retina) get damaged. Diabetics might be at a higher risk of developing this eye complication. Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include floaters, blurriness, sudden dark areas of vision, and difficulty perceiving colors. If not treated, blindness can occur.

Mild cases may be treated with care. Advanced cases may require surgery or laser treatment. The risks of surgery are low if the procedure is done properly.

Retinitis pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare, degenerative eye disease that affects people in different ways. Symptoms of the disease can include decreased vision at night or in low-light environments and loss of side vision.

There is no cure for this condition. However, it may help to protect what little vision remains with the use of sunglasses.


A child experiencing amblyopia, or "lazy eye," may not be able to see well with one eye. This is because the brain favors the other eye. Children with lazy eyes may be able to see better with their good eyes, but both eyes can be affected. The condition is often treated with eyewear, drops, surgery, and sometimes, patches on the eyelids.

Retinopathy of prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity is a disease that can happen in premature babies. It causes the blood vessels in the eyes to grow abnormally, leading to blindness. Premature babies are more likely to get this disease because they are born with immature blood vessels. A cause of retinopathy of prematurity is the lack of oxygen to the baby while they are still in the uterus. The disease can cause leaking or bleeding of vessels, which leads to scarring on the retina.

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is an emergency and should not be taken lightly. Fluids and tissue that provide necessary oxygen and nourishment pull away from the back of the eye. This can lead to sudden flashes of light or a shadow in the vision field. Prompt medical treatment can save vision in an eye.

If you are experiencing vision loss, it is time to talk to a low vision specialist. We can put you in touch with a low vision clinic near you.

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