Most of the time, people who can’t see well can wear glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision. Sometimes they choose LASIK. However, other times a person’s visual impairment cannot be fully treated due to a variety of possible causes. This is referred to as Low Vision.
Low vision is not a disease; it’s usually a symptom of an underlying eye disease, like macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, or retinitis pigmentosa. The most common cause is macular degeneration, but other ocular diseases, eye injury, brain damage and genetics can also lead to low vision.
While someone with low vision is not actually blind, the inability to see can reduce quality of life, making it difficult or impossible to carry out daily activities like reading and driving. Low vision tends to be a problem for seniors, though it can affect younger adults and children as well. It can contribute to depression because the condition is often frustrating and not well understood or managed.
Low vision may make a person feel isolated. Their lifestyle may require them to become dependent on others, especially if they cannot get around on their own or work. Low vision may make reading or watching television a challenge. Statistics Canada research (PALS – Participation and Activity Limitation Survey) revealed that the unemployment rate of working-age Canadians with visual impairments was twice as high as those with no disability.
Does low vision affect you or someone you know? There are many strategies that can help those with low vision lead successful lives. There are several visual aids available. Low vision devices include magnifiers that are mounted on to eyeglasses, as well as magnifiers on a stand, handheld magnifiers, computer screen magnifiers and even telescopes. Certain types of low vision also respond well to adjusting light settings, large print books and other adaptive low vision aids.
Low Vision Specialists
Dr. Sud and Dr. Datta-Bose are optometrists who specialize in Low Vision at Mississauga Vision Centre. They see patients across the GTA, which include Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Etobicoke and Toronto. Their goal is to help patients maximize their eyesight and help them lead a more enjoyable, independent lifestyle. Mississauga Vision Centre has a close working relationship with the CNIB Halton/Peel and is affiliated with the Assisted Device Program of Ontario (ADP), a program that funds 75%-100% the cost of devices for Ontario residents who have long-term physical disabilities.