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 Providence, 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.
"I first went to Koch Eye many years ago after being referred there for a follow up appointment after being treated at the emergency room for an eye injury, That was the only time I actually saw Dr. Koch himself (who was very nice by the way) It is only in the last few years (since my old lady eyes have begun to need reading glasses) that I have come in regularly for my eye exam and glasses prescription. I never have any problem with wait time because there are several optometrists. Really the only thing I am not crazy about is their hours. I wish it was possible to get an evening appointment or that there was an occasional Saturday. The office staff is pleasant and courteous"- I.C. / Yelp / May 09, 2019
"Such an amazing experience! The staff and Dr. Gerber are AMAZING and were so helpful throughout the whole process from beginning to end within my Lasik journey. I can finally see!! I highly recommend Koch Eye associates in Cranston with Dr. Alex Gerber"- M.P. / Yelp / Dec 28, 2019
"Such an amazing experience! From the second I came in for my first consult for LASIK, to when the procedure was finished, the staff was so caring and helpful! They really know what they are doing and make you feel so comfortable throughout the whole process! Soooo happy with my results! 10/10 recommend."- R.P. / Google / Dec 28, 2019
"I wanted to wait a few months before I wrote my review. It turns out to be the best decision I ever made. I had trouble at first doing the pre test because it's hard for me to keep my eyes open so they had me come back. They were very patient with me. The place is very clean and all the doctors are nice. They are also very good with appointments for post op, you don't have to wait long like most doctors. I would highly recommend this place if you chose to have Laser Eye surgery done."- R.M. / Google / Dec 08, 2019
"Kathy and Zach at Koch Vision Store are just terrific; very knowledgeable about selections and have great recommendations when one is considering lenses/frames."- J.M. / Google / Nov 22, 2019
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.