Low vision is described as having partial vision, such as blurred vision, blind spots or tunnel vision and even blindness. Low vision makes daily life difficult and can interfere with reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car or recognizing faces and cannot be corrected through surgery, medication, glasses or contact lenses.
Low vision can manifest in many forms:
- Macular degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic retinopathy can affect central vision.
- Glaucoma and strokes affect peripheral vision.
- Most eye problems can affect contrast sensitivity.
- Poor depth perception can cause us to misjudge the height of a step for instance.
- Visual processing – Difficulties with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted, or processed by the brain.
Approximately 1 in 28 Americans over age 40 suffer from low vision. Aging is the number one factor linked to increased risk of developing low vision disorders such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Other factors that increase the likelihood of developing low vision are gender, ethnicity, family history, smoking, exposure to UVA/UVB light and diet.
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