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Low Vision Therapy in Mississauga, ON

Some people are born with various visual disabilities and others acquire them in life due to various diseases that may not be treatable.

Our low vision optometrists in Mississauga Vision Centre have a close working relationship with the CNIB Halton/Peel and are able to provide personalized comprehensive low vision evaluations, as well as the full spectrum of low vision aids available in the market.

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Low Vision Devices

These low vision devices can be demonstrated to our patients upon their visit. Our affiliation with the Assistive Devices Program of Ontario (ADP) allows us to access 75% to 100% funding for these optical aids on behalf of our patients.

Some of these optical aids are: optical magnifiers, computer magnifiers, video magnifiers, spectacle magnifiers, telescopic magnifiers and other solutions to assist with activities of daily living of scholastic and vocational activities.

You can book directly with us for a low vision consultation for yourself or family who you feel may benefit.

Our Mississauga eye doctors have transformed the lives of hundreds of visually impaired children and adults by prescribing low vision aids to assist them in overcoming their barriers to daily visual function required for every day living.

The low vision specialist at Mississauga Vision Centre can also recommend non-optical adaptive devices, such as large-print books, audio tapes, special light fixtures and signature guides for signing checks and documents. If necessary, your eye doctor or low vision specialist can also refer you to a counselor to help you cope with your loss of vision.

How to Cope with Low Vision

What causes low vision

Reduced vision is defined as vision that can not be corrected completely using either contact lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery, and is blurry (at the level of at least 20/70), or limited in its view field. Low vision is sometimes caused by injury to the eye or brain, and it can be inherited. However, the main cause of low vision is eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Who is affected by low vision

Low vision is a condition that the elderly suffer from, although it is possible for children and adults to have low vision. After a life of seeing normally, losing your vision can be hard, or even traumatic, and can potentially lead to frustration, or even depression.

Struggles of people with low vision

What is especially hard about low vision is that many people are unable to work, and lose their existing jobs. In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey showed that the employment rate for Americans with low vision was 24 percent.

If you have low vision, you probably feel disconnected from the rest of the world. With low vision, it’s hard to read, see images on television or a computer screen, and impossible to drive. You may not be able to be independent and run your own errands, shop for food, or visit friends and family. Sometimes people with a vision impairment suffer with this burden alone, while others must rely completely on friends and relatives on a daily basis.

Low vision aids

There are many devices and ways to manage low vision, which can help people suffering with low vision to continue leading productive and independent lives. Some of the devices that can help make the most out of remaining vision are magnifiers, both handheld and mounted on eyeglasses, and telescopes.

Low vision symptoms

Signs that it is time to see an eye doctor include loss of peripheral vision, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, night blindness, needing more light to see, spots or floaters, and reading difficulty. These symptoms could indicate that a cataract is beginning in your eye. Or these problems could be signs of an eye condition such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, or macular degeneration. Make sure to see your eye doctor before any eye condition becomes so serious that vision loss occurs.

What is a low vision specialist

If it’s not possible to correct your vision loss with surgery, medical treatment, or eyewear, your eye doctor will send you to a specialist in low vision care. A low vision specialist, who is usually an optometrist, will evaluate your vision loss. Once he or she determines the type and degree of vision loss you are suffering from, this specialist can create a treatment plan including low vision aids, and guidance in using devices that help you to live with vision loss.

Additionally, a low vision specialist has knowledge of many different types of aids for low vision, including large-print and audio books, specially-designed lights, and signature guides that are used to sign checks and other documents. Sometimes eye care professionals that are treating vision loss recommend counseling to help their patients learn to live with the changes that low vision brings.

Low Vision Aids for Computer Users

In general, visually-impaired people can use the same low vision aids for viewing a computer screen and reading e-mail as they do for other reading activities.

In addition, special software has been developed to increase the size of print and images on computer screens and convert printed information into audible messages that are “read” by a synthetic voice.

These innovative low vision devices let partially-sighted people do the same computer-related tasks as fully-sighted people – such as word-processing, creating and using spreadsheets and viewing Web pages online.

Increasing Print and Image Sizes

Most computer operating systems and Internet browsers allow you to increase the size of Web pages and text on your computer screen to make them more visible to partially-sighted users.

Here are a few simple tips for adjusting text size:

  • In browsers such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari, you can enlarge text on your screen by holding down the Control ("Ctrl") key on your keyboard and tapping the "+" key.
  • To return the text to its normal size, tap the "-" key while holding down the Control key.
  • You also can hold down the Control or Command key, and then use the wheel on your mouse (see below) to increase or decrease the text size on your screen.
  • Still another way to enlarge text on your screen is to use the "Text Size" or "Make Text Larger" command within "View" in the drop-down menu bar that appears at the top of your screen, but only when you use popular software programs such as Microsoft Word and Outlook.

Large-print display software goes the extra step and displays not just larger text, but also icons, mouse pointers and other navigation items at larger sizes.

For better visibility, it's also a good idea to purchase a large LCD display for your desktop computer - a screen that measures at least 20 inches diagonally can be a big help. Another option is to use a screen magnifier placed in front of your display.

Talking Computers

People with tunnel vision from glaucoma or central blind spots from macular degeneration may find it difficult and tiring to read an entire computer screen. This is one reason that "talking computers" were invented.

Talking computers are based on optical character recognition (OCR) systems that first scan text in a word processing document or Web page, and then convert the text to sounds. The result is a synthetic voice that reads aloud not only the actual text but also important navigation items such as the cursor location. Voice systems are available from several major software companies.

Your Mouse

Some people with low vision, especially if they are good typists, like to use keyboard commands instead of a mouse, because it can be easier to type a keyboard command than to move the cursor to a precise place on the screen with a mouse.

If you would rather use a mouse, choose one that is ergonomically designed for comfort and ease of use. One great innovation is a wheel that is mounted in the center of the mouse and lets you scroll up and down the screen just by moving the wheel with your finger.

A wireless optical mouse is another good option because your movements aren't limited by the wire leading from the mouse to the computer. If you sometimes experience hand cramps, try using a bigger mouse that lets your hand stay in a more open position, instead of clenched up.

A common source of frustration is a mouse set at a speed that is too fast or too slow. If you're a Windows user and you can't control your mouse because it seems to "zoom" across the screen, you can adjust this by clicking on the Start menu, then Control Panel, then Mouse. There you'll find all kinds of mouse behavior settings, including the pointer speed.

Eliminate Display Flicker Enhance Contrast

If images on your computer monitor seem to flicker, you can usually eliminate this by adjusting the screen refresh rate, which is how often your monitor redraws the content on the screen. If you use Windows, go to the Start menu, then Control Panel, then Display, then Advanced, then Monitor. Set the refresh rate to 70 Hz (hertz) or higher.

You can eliminate flicker problems altogether by purchasing a liquid crystal display (LCD), which doesn't require images to be "refreshed" like a traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. For this reason, LCD screens typically cause less eyestrain. For the best screen visibility for someone with low vision, choose an LCD display with a high contrast ratio. Salespeople at your local computer store can help you identify these models.

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