What is Low Vision?

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You may have heard the term ‘low vision’ and not completely understood what it means and the challenges it brings. Low vision is a visual impairment which cannot be corrected by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. Low vision affects a person's ability to perform everyday activities and is life changing.

Most common in the elderly

Low vision is more common in the elderly and the most common condition is age related macular degeneration (AMD). It is a painless eye condition that causes you to lose central vision, usually in both eyes. Central vision is what you see when you focus straight ahead. In AMD, this vision becomes increasingly blurred, which means reading becomes difficult, colours appear less vibrant and people's faces are difficult to recognise. This sight loss usually happens gradually over time, although it can sometimes be rapid. AMD doesn't affect your peripheral vision (side vision), which means it will not cause complete blindness.

Having "low vision" is not the same as being "blind"

Your doctor may tell you that you have a blind or blank spot in the centre of your vision that limits your ability to read or see people's faces.
Once you have been diagnosed with low vision, you may find yourself worrying about the impact of vision loss will have on your daily lifestyle.

Anxieties are common

The anxieties people face are loss of independence, loss of confidence and loss of privacy. These anxieties are common but it is important to acknowledge them, as they are perfectly normal and are to be expected. However, it's even more important to move beyond them and reclaim your life. Living with low vision will take some time to get used and you will learn to make adjustments in your life and you will still be able to perform your daily activities and keep your independence but just in a different way!

The most important thing to know

There is help and support available for anyone with low vision. Seek help from your doctor or a low vision specialist who can assess you and guide you. Low vision services and Societies can provide support, low vision aids such as digital magnifiers, lighting, and lots of other helpful resources. Please do not suffer in silence, you can still live life to the full! Contact us at Bierley for more information or to discuss the digital magnifiers we have to offer that will enhance your everyday life. Call us on 0800 0430 282 for any advice, we have been helping people for 15 years and can point you in a good direction.