Vision Impairment in Rhode Island

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About Low Vision

Low vision is an umbrella term referring to extreme visual impairment that prescription lenses, medicines, and surgeries cannot completely correct. Low vision does not include full blindness because individuals with the condition do retain some sight. Tunnel vision, blind spots, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) worse than 20/70, legal blindness, and a visual field of less than 20 degrees are all examples of low vision. Millions of people in the U.S. – and over 100 million people globally – have low vision, and the causes vary from patient to patient. However, most low vision is caused by eye disease, birth defects, injury, and aging — roughly 45% percent is the result of age-related macular degeneration.

Patients who are diagnosed with low vision are generally referred to a low vision specialist for further vision testing and trained guidance in maximizing the use of their remaining sight. At Koch Eye Associates, we are equipped with the latest vision acuity technologies and have multiple experienced low vision specialists on staff at our Warwick, North Kingstown, Johnston, Woonsocket, and Wakefield, RI offices. Schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you overcome the difficulties of low vision.

Symptoms and causes

Individuals living with low vision can experience multiple types of vision impairment, depending on the cause of the condition. Examples of vision impairment that can fall under the term low vision include reduced peripheral vision, clouded vision, partially obscured central vision, night blindness, and blind spots. Many people with low vision have suffered an eye injury or were born with an ocular defect. However, the majority of cases of low vision are the result of aging and eye disease. The most common eye diseases associated with low vision are glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

low vision exam

If you are diagnosed with low vision by your ophthalmologist, the next step will be a referral to one of our highly trained low vision specialists. A low vision specialist does not take the place of your regular ophthalmologist but is there as additional guidance and support in managing daily life with low vision. At your first consultation with this specialist, you will have a comprehensive low vision examination, which is much more involved than a regular comprehensive exam. A few things the specialist will focus on are specialized refraction and vision acuity testing, how your impairment impacts your daily functioning, and your overall vision and medical histories. Your low vision specialist needs all of this information in order to determine the management path and devices that will most benefit your specific lifestyle.

low vision management

Since low vision means that your vision impairment cannot be fully corrected, a large part of your treatment program will be learning to adjust to the impairment. This can include optical and non-optical aids, as well as possible therapy for dealing with the emotional aspects. Once your specialist has all the necessary information from your exam, he or she can direct you toward certain devices to help you with activities specific to your life. They can also help you determine, for example, the best kind of lighting to have in your home, depending on your specific condition. Commonly recommended optical aids include special magnifiers for portable devices (like tablets), computers, and television screens, as well as reading telescopes. Common non-optical aids include things like “talking” clocks or blood pressure monitors, large print books, and pill and money organizers.

Overcoming low vision

Receiving a diagnosis of low vision can be an emotional event, but it is possible to still live an independent, full life. At Koch Eye Associates, our specialists are experienced in all types of vision impairment and are passionate about improving quality of life through better vision and impairment management. We encourage you to schedule your initial consultation today at one of our Rhode Island offices. It is time to start living your best life with less dependence on others for routine activities.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.