Living and Thriving with Low Vision

Low Vision occurs when ocular disease (such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, optic atrophy, and others) reduces vision to levels not adequately corrected by traditional glasses or contact lenses. When this is the case, a referral for low vision rehabilitation is often indicated.

Following a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that emphasizes daily living needs and skills, a variety of specialized optical and non-optical devices will be prescribed to maximize visual function.

These devices could include among others, magnification and telescopic systems, closed circuit video magnification devices, various lens filters, and other non-optical vision assistive devices.


Q.What is low vision?

A. A person with low vision has some useful vision, but cannot see well enough to do certain activities, such as reading or watching television. Regular glasses or contact lenses do not help. Most people who qualify as legally blind actually have low vision, and many can be helped to more efficiently use the vision they have.

Q. What causes low vision?

A. Disorders affecting the eye or visual system can result in low vision. Birth defects, injuries, diseases or the aging process can cause impairment of eyesight. Common conditions include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, optic atrophy, and retinitis pigmentosa. While many conditions can be treated with medication or surgery, some damage to the tissue may remain, resulting in low vision.

Q. What can be done about low vision?

A. Dr. Barron’s goal is to help the patient with low vision perform their everyday tasks as well as overcome many obstacles presented by their vision problems. The first step in low vision rehabilitation is a comprehensive evaluation, which involves evaluation of the level of vision remaining, how efficiently the person is using his/her vision, as well as assessment of prescriptive optical aids. Training, counseling and/or visual aids will be provided to help overcome the difficulties created by the vision problem. Several visits are usually necessary for complete assessment.

Q. What are the chances of success?

A. Success with low vision rehabilitation is good for most patients, although many factors can affect success. First, a minimum level of vision must be present in order to benefit from rehabilitation. Second, motivation is necessary; anyone who decides to begin low vision rehabilitation must be flexible and willing to work within the limitations of their particular low vision. With good medical care and a willingness to overcome limitations, the chances of success are excellent. Dr. Barron has had great success with patients who had very little vision but through evaluation and treatment, rehabilitation was possible. We encourage you to consider a consultation. If you or a loved one suffers from low vision, you may be surprised to discover what options are available.

Q. Are low vision devices easy to use?

A. Using most low vision devices requires some training and practice and this is customized for each patient and their particular vision needs. Some patients will need to change the way they perform certain tasks and this is part of the training. For example, books may be held closer to the face when using a spectacle-mounted microscope to read. While the reading process may be different than what a patient has been used to, low vision devices do not harm the eyes and do not further impair vision.

Q. Where does my regular eye doctor fit in?

A. Some patients refer themselves to Dr. Barron although many patients are referred to Dr. Barron for Low Vision services by their regular eye doctor. After the rehabilitation goals have been addressed, patients are often returned to their regular eye doctor for ongoing care. Dr. Barron will coordinate your care with you regular eye doctor.