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
"The staff was great good exam. They took the time to explain what and why the we’re doing"- A.R. / Facebook / Jan 30, 2020
"I had been going to Vision World/ Works for the last 20 years for eye exams, glasses, contacts. When I was last seen a few years ago I was told my eyes had weakened and I needed -6.0 in my left eye and -5.0 in my right, a substantial increase from -4.75 left and -3.75 right two years before. Needless to say I experienced hyperopia and needed readers for the first time. I wasn't able to read labels, see my phone, or use a laptop without readers of at least +2.5. I was recentl...y seen by Dr Besen at Koch Eye who prescribed contacts of -5.25 left and -4.25 right. I'm absolutely certain that Vision World had me in lenses that were too strong because now I can see my laptop without readers, and I can see my phone if I hold it at arms length. Not only can I see better (for distance as well as close up), but the entire experience of walking into Koch, being greeted by reception, having a preliminary exam by the optician assistants, receiving a full eye exam by the optometrist, being properly fitted for glasses by the optician, and checking out with reception, is exponentially superior with Koch. Clearly the entire staff enjoy their careers, and are friendly, professional, and completely competent. Thank you, Koch Eye Associates! I will recommend you to everyone I know. Sincerely, Kate Carroll"- K.C. / Facebook / Nov 13, 2019
"Had LASIK on 8/14/2020, great experience, I was well informed of what to expect. No surprises. Dr. Gerber was very professional and has good bed side manners. For my follow up the next day I saw Dr. Bae and she was very nice, friendly and sweet. The entire staff at all the locations I have visited for eye exams, purchase glasses and/or contacts have been very nice. Very nice and clean locations, everyone wears a mask and practice social distancing as much as possible. I am glad I had this team for my surgery and my family eye care needs."- S.R. / Yelp / Aug 25, 2020
"This is one of the most easy going, kind, helpful Eye Dr I am lucky to have she keeps up with new eye Technologies which is very cool and has taken good care of my eyes and made all my appointment easy, and took the time to ask my concerns and cares about me to make me a happy patient thank you to her and all the great staff she has on her team :)!!!"- Anonymous / RateMDs / Aug 04, 2020
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.