Low vision is not just part of getting older. Normal changes in our eyes and vision occur as we get older. However, these changes don’t usually lead to low vision. Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases and health conditions such as macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, and/or diabetes. While vision that’s lost cannot always be restored, many people can make the most of the vision they have. Millions of Americans have low vision.
Your eye care professional here at Canton Ophthalmology can tell the difference between normal changes in the aging eye and those caused by eye diseases. You should have regular dilated eye exams to determine your eye health.
You can review the list below for signs that can signal vision loss. Even with your regular glasses on, 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 signs or the names of stores?
Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. If your doctor has determined that you are visually impaired, they will recommend a consult with Dr. Kristi Stalker for a low vision examination. This examination is very different from a regular eye exam. Dr. Stalker will ask about the problems you are having and your goals for rehabilitation. It is helpful if you bring along:
- an example of something you have trouble seeing (a church bulletin, newspaper article, food label, etc.).
- any magnification devices you are currently using, so they can be compared.
Dr. Stalker will then evaluate your vision with your magnifiers and with professional grade equipment (magnifiers, glasses, etc) that are stronger than those usually available to the public. While the low vision exam is covered by insurance in the same way as most medical office visits, it is important to know that low vision devices are not covered by Medicare, Primetime, VA benefits, or private insurance.
Useful Link Lighthouse.org
The following pictures may give your family an idea of how your vision is being affected.