Grab some coffee and stay a while

Common Causes of Low Vision

post feature image

Dr. Marc Weinstein

post feature image

Despite all the new medical advancements, fancy glasses frames, and improvements in technologies that help give your vision more clarity, there are some eye conditions that can’t be corrected. Due to age, most people will experience low vision in their lifetimes. About 4 million people in the US are diagnosed with low vision. That's approximately one in four adults over age 75. To help you recognize if you may be experiencing low vision, here are some basics.

What is low vision?

Low vision is when sight impairment cannot be fully corrected with visual aids like glasses or contacts, or even surgery. Symptoms of low vision are defined as having a visual acuity of 20/70 or worse as well as being legally blind with a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse. However, regardless of vision acuity, these impairments are also considered types of low vision:

Loss of peripheral vision or having blind spots Loss of central vision Blurred vision at both close and far range Constant haziness and lack of visual clarity Poor night vision Extreme light sensitivity

These vision problems deeply impact the routine tasks of daily life, like driving.

What causes low vision?

Low vision can be a mixture of multiple causes. Below are some of the most common factors that contribute to low vision.

Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration is when a part of your retina begins to deteriorate, causing loss of vision. Glaucoma– A type of eye disorder when changes in eye pressure affects vision Cataracts– Clouding that occurs on the lens of the eye that causes blurred, cloudy vision. This is very common in old age. Amblyopia– More widely known as lazy eye, it is when vision does not develop properly in one or both eyes. Retinitis Pigmentosa– This causes impairment to the ability to see in the dark as well as limited peripheral vision.
Diabetes– As overall health affects eye health, those with diabetes can develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy where the blood vessels in the eye can leak and damage vision. Head and eye injuries– Severe trauma to the head or eye area can cause permanent effects to vision.

How is low vision treated?

If your doctor concludes that there is not a way to correct your low vision, the best treatment is to adapt to your changing sight. An eye doctor or specialist may recommend magnifiers, large text clocks or watches, reading aids and special lights, among other tools to help navigate what has become challenging in your daily routine.