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Low Vision

Low vision is loss of eyesight that makes everyday tasks like reading, writing, crossing the street, or watching television difficult. When vision cannot be improved with eyeglasses, medicine, or surgery, people with low vision need to know how to best maintain their existing vision and best utilize the vision they still have.

Low vision can affect central or peripheral vision, depth of perception, or visual processing.

Low vision may be caused by eye injuries or conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or retinitis pigmentosa.

Vision rehabilitation can help people with low vision. You can learn new strategies to complete daily activities, regaining confidence in your ability to live CCTVindependently despite vision loss.

There are many low vision aids available, such as magnifying spectacles, hand and video magnifiers, and telescopes, that can help you make the most of your remaining vision. Learning to adjust lighting appropriately can often improve your vision for reading, cooking, dressing, and walking up and down stairs.

What can you do to prevent vision loss?
Early examinations can help reduce the risk of vision loss. If you are experiencing difficulty seeing, it is very important to visit your eye care provider immediately to get a comprehensive examination. Diagnosis and possible treatment of your eye condition may slow progression of the vision loss and in some cases can improve vision.

A low vision examination may be helpful when medical options are exhausted. Rehabilitation may be possible. A low vision examination differs from a regular eye exam in that it is typically longer and involves a number of tests that you may not be familiar with.
Typically, the low vision specialist reviews your medical and ocular history and then asks you for detailed information about your vision problems and how they are affecting your everyday life.

After taking your history, our low vision specialist will do a number of tests to assess your vision. These tests may include:

• refraction to assess your vision and determine the best possible glasses prescription;
• visual field testing of your peripheral vision;
• ocular function testing for depth perception, color perception, and contrast sensitivity;
• ocular motility testing to determine how well your eyes move; and
• evaluation and trial of many different low vision devices, such as magnifiers, improved lighting, closed-circuit TVs, and electronic devices.

Eye Care of Maine has a low vision specialist ready to help you. Dr. Helen Bell-Necevski, OD, is an optometrist specializing in low vision; she works closely with the Maine Department of Blind and Visually Impaired and The Iris Network to help patients maintain their independence in their own home and to continue to enjoy the activities of daily living that contribute to a improved quality of life.

Typically a low vision evaluation lasts about one hour. The rehabilitation program consists of 3-8 visits depending on the patient’s specific needs. It is helpful to bring any items such as books, music, mail etc. that are difficult to read at home to the appointments. Also, bring any current magnifiers or telescopes that you use at home to help in determining the best devices for you without duplicating existing ones.

Low Vision Rehabilitation is for anyone with vision loss that interferes with activities of daily living. Please contact us today for an appointment.