Low Vision Aid WHAT IS LOW VISION ? A person is said to have ‘Low Vision’, if he or she has a significant visual handicap in spite of treatment and best correction with standard eyeglasses or contact lenses. ‘Low Vision’ should not be confused with blindness. People with ‘Low Vision’ have a significant visual handicap but they also have significant residual vision. The residual vision may be insufficient to meet the patient’s routine needs. But a good percentage of these patients have some degree of usable vision, which can be utilized for their day to day work using special aids or devices. If properly motivated, these patients can potentially benefit with the use of special aids or devices called ‘Low Vision Aids’. Greens Medical Centre has a dedicated Low Vision Aids Service to help such patients. WHAT ARE CAUSES OF LOW VISION ? Although most often experienced by the elderly, people of any age may suffer from low vision. Low vision can result from birth defects, inherited diseases, injuries, diabetes, glaucoma, high myopia and aging. The commonest cause is Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), a degenerative disease of the retina, the innermost layer of the eye that perceives light and enables us to see. Macular degeneration affects the central vision. Even when advanced, it does not lead to total blindness because the peripheral vision is still preserved, even though the central vision may be totally lost. Although reduced central vision is the commonest cause of low vision, extensive loss of peripheral vision as in advanced glaucoma, can also produce low vision due to extremely narrow field of vision. Birth defects or inherited disease producing loss of color vision or increased glare sensitivity (diminished ability of the eye to adjust to light, contrast or glare) can also cause low vision. WHAT ARE LOW VISION AID? A ‘Low Vision Aid’ (LVA) is a device or an apparatus that improves or enhances the residual vision in patients with low vision. There is no absolute level of vision above which LVAs will be useful, and below which they will not be. Also there is no one device that is suitable for all situations and all patients. Different devices are needed to fulfill the needs of various patients. Various low vision aids may need to be tried out before the most suitable device or devices is determined for a particular patient.