What is low vision?
Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses,
medicine, or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to
do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing
can seem challenging.
Millions of Americans lose some of their vision every year. Irreversible
vision loss is most common among people over age 65.
Is losing vision just part of
No. Some normal changes in our eyes and vision occur as we get
older. However, these changes usually don't lead to low vision.
Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases and health
conditions like macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, and
diabetes. A few people develop vision loss after eye injuries
or from birth defects. While vision that's lost usually cannot
be restored, many people can make the most of the vision they
Your eye care professional can tell the difference between normal
changes in the aging eye and those caused by eye diseases.
How do I know if I have low vision?
There are many signs that can signal vision loss. For example,
even with your regular glasses, do you have difficulty:
- Recognizing faces of friends and relatives?
- Doing things that require you to see well up close, like reading,
cooking, sewing, or fixing things around the house?
- Picking out and matching the color of your clothes?
Doing things at work or home because lights seem dimmer than
they used to?
- Reading street and bus signs or the names of stores?
Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye
disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better
the chance of successful treatment and keeping your remaining
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