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All you need to know about Low Vision Aids.

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1. I’m told I have low vision. What exactly does ‘low vision’ mean?

Low Vision is a condition in which visual functions cannot be improved by glasses, contact lenses, medicine or any eye surgery and the vision in the best seeing eye is worse than 6/18 or visual field less than 20⁰ however patient is able to utilise his residual vision to perform his/ her daily activities.

2. What are Low Vision Aids?

In simple words, Low vision aids do not restore sight, but allow and help the person to use areas of their retina, which still have some useful vision, by the use of various low vision devices.

3. I’d like to know more about low vision. How prevalent is it, which kind of patients are likely to have low vision?

• 285 million people are visually impaired (WHO) 

• 36 million are blind and 246 million are low vision 

• Majority of these people reside in India and China 

• Low Vision affects all ages, both the genders, urban and rural communities leading to poor quality of life. 

• It also has an impact on one’s education, career and daily activities.

4. How do I know that I have low vision? What am I likely to experience?

  • Distorted visual acuity 

  • Restricted visual field 

  • Deprived night vision 

  • Inability to distinguish between shades and colors 

  • Great difficulty to perform his/her daily living activities independently

5. How does the low vision work up go?

  • We start by taking the patients history and acquiring the best corrected Visual Acuity for near and distance.

  • Understanding the patients visual needs. 

  • Selection of the low visual aids is in accordance with the patient’s clinical condition and his visual needs.

  • To achieve better acceptance of any device, consider the patient’s needs, goals with the ability to handle the aid, as well as the aesthetics, weight, cost, and timing of the prescription. It is important for the patient to be comfortable with the aid proposed in all aspects.

  • Once the appropriate device is given, the patient is trained to maximize the use of the device.

  • It is also important to counsel the patient on how they could adapt to some changes in their surroundings which will create a better environment for the patient to cope with low vision.

  • If required, therapists can also be contacted to evaluate the performance, encourage the patients and remain available for further assistance.

6. In case I do have low vision, what are the various treatment modalities available for me?

Vision Rehabilitation includes adaptive processes experienced and services provided to the partially sighted and blind. These include

• Diagnosis of the disease 

• Assessment of Visual functions 

• Trial and dispensing of Low Vision Devices 

• Orientation and mobility training. 

• Low vision instruction. 

7. How is Low Vision care helpful to patients? 

• With low vision care, especially Low vision devices help improve patients’ quality of life. 

• Many adult patients are able to perform various distance tasks such as seeing bus numbers, train indicators, sign boards etc. and near activities such as reading and writing. 

• Many kids are able to see letters on chalkboard in school.

8. Which is the correct LVA for me, I have been diagnosed with ARMD and am having central vision loss? Interest in reading newspaper and computer, which device can help?

In Macular Degeneration, the macula deteriorates and central vision deteriorates and can cause loss of central vision.

  • -Bioptic Telescope Glasses

  • -E-Scoop Glasses

  • -Prismatic Eyeglasses

  • -Full-diameter Telescopes

These aids combine several features to improve vision specifically for Macular Degeneration patients: Magnification, a shift of focus onto a healthy part of the retina telescopes, magnify and make an object appear closer, a yellow tint to reduce glare and enhance contrast, and anti-reflective coating.

9. I am a patient of advanced glaucoma; I only have a narrow central tunnel vision, which aid will be helpful?

  • Aids such as magnifying spectacles (worn just like traditional eyeglasses), electronic magnifiers, E-Scoop glasses, hand-held and clip-on telescopes, and more. 

  • Or non-optical devices, such as visors, filters, reading slits, stands, lamps and large print.

10. I have low vision and love TV, what can I do to watch tv?

  • The “SEETV” glasses are specially designed for watching TV. These glasses will focus on objects from 10 feet to infinity with clarity on the enlarged image. One can help to maximize the size of a TV screen and other objects with this easiest-to-fit binocular telescope system.

11. I am a house wife, I love cooking, but I can’t distinguish my ingredients? Difficulty in chopping vegetables?

  • Use a dark cutting board for light-coloured foods, and a light-coloured cutting board for dark food.

  • Use brightly contrasting coloured paint or tape on the handles of kitchen equipment and utensils, stoves and oven to differentiate them and their temperatures.

  • Apply tape over the knobs for the burners of your stove so that they cannot be turned on. This will prevent accidents from occurring due to reaching over a flame.

12. Additional advice to change and help with daily tasks:

  • Increase the lighting in your house:  adequately illuminated spaces will prevent falls and improve visibility.

  • Reduce glare: protect your eyes from glare by wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or a stole wrapped around your face covering your eyes.

  • Use heavy, bold felt tip markers for writing or enlarged prints to read

  • Special low vision devices: Watches, remotes, and thermostats that “talk back” are also readily available, and affordable.

  • Additionally, assistive technologies such as Google alexa/google assistant or siri.

  • Application such as “mani app” will help in identifying money

  • In the bathroom, use magnifying mirrors to help with shaving and makeup.

  • Paint stairs inside and outside of your home, mark the edges of the steps with contrasting colours

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