Frequently Asked Questions

Low Vision

Q. What is low vision?

Answer. Low vision is a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, that interferes with a person's ability to perform everyday activities (such as: Reading, writing, shopping, cooking, etc.)

Q. How do I know if I have low vision?

Answer. 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 vision.

Q.  How do I know when to get an eye exam?

Answer. Regular dilated eye exams should be part of your routine health care. However, if you believe

your vision has recently changed, you should see your eye care professional as soon as


Q. What can I do if I have low vision?

Answer. Many people with low vision are taking charge. They want more information about devices and services that can help them keep their independence.

Q. What can I do about my low vision?

Answer. Although many people maintain good vision throughout their lifetimes, people over age 65 are at increased risk of developing low vision. You and your eye care professional or specialist in low vision need to work in partnership to achieve what is best for you. An important part of this relationship is good communication.

Here are some questions to ask your eye care professional or specialist in low vision to get the discussion started:

Questions to ask your eye care professional:

What changes can I expect in my vision?

Will my vision loss get worse? How much of my vision will I lose?

Will regular eyeglasses improve my vision?

What medical/surgical treatments are available for my condition?

What can I do to protect or prolong my vision?

Will diet, exercise, or other lifestyle changes help?


-National Eye Institute


Useful links:

International Academy of Low vision Specialists

- Medlineplus (A Service of the US National Libaray of medicine)

-American Academy of Ophthalmology

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