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Aging & Low Vision: Here’s What You Need to Know

Low VisonAging is a natural process, but it comes with some challenges. One such challenge is a higher risk of low vision.

Although low vision can’t be corrected with traditional measures like glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medication, there are many low vision aids and devices available to help you stay independent.

If you or a loved one is experiencing low vision, remember that you aren’t alone and that the low vision team at The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles is eager to assist.

The Definition of Low Vision

Low vision refers to a significant visual impairment that permanently affects visual acuity – the clarity or sharpness of vision.

20/20 vision is considered average or normal vision, and it can often be achieved with glasses and contact lenses.

Low vision is characterized as 20/70 or worse in the better-seeing eye, and can’t be corrected even with surgery, glasses or medicine. Low vision is also defined as a loss of visual field, such as occurs with “tunnel vision.”

Aging and Low Vision

Although low vision can occur at any age, it’s much more common in people aged 60 and older. The risk of sight-threatening eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) grows as we age.

Even though fewer than 1% of people aged 45 struggle with low vision, this statistic increases to approximately 5% for those aged 75, and 15% for those aged 85.

Age-related eye diseases can go undetected for a long time, which is why having regular comprehensive eye exams is key for early diagnosis, management, and access to low vision aids.

Low Vision Devices, Glasses and Aids

Low vision devices, glasses, and aids are tools that can help individuals with low vision maximize their remaining vision.

These tools include telescopic glasses, which are a combination of two optical lenses and a telescope; side vision awareness glasses (or peripheral vision glasses); magnifiers; and electronic low vision devices like video magnifiers and closed-circuit televisions.

Large print materials, tactile maps, and raised line paper are also low vision aids that can help individuals with poor vision.

Your low vision optometrist will evaluate your vision and ask you about your visual goals: Do you want to be able to cook? Work on your computer? Read a book? Watch TV? Drive?

Based on this information, your optometrist will share tips for living with low vision, and prescribe the best low vision aids and devices to help you reach your individual goals.

Your Low Vision Specialist in Westchester, Los Angeles

Experiencing vision loss can initially feel overwhelming, but with the right support and low vision aids/devices, you can continue to live a full and active life.

An appointment with our low vision specialist at The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles will help you transition to this new phase of life.

Our practice serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, Inglewood, and Playa Del Rey, California and surrounding communities.

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