Sometimes, low vision patients experience vision difficulty in certain lighting conditions. Fortunately, specialized filters exist which can help maintain comfort in all environments.
Some low vision patients have difficulty seeing in certain lighting conditions. There is a range of filter types that can help these patients see better in those conditions, and the type and intensity of the filter will vary based on a patient’s individual condition.
Filters may be recommended for patients that have difficulty with:
There are two categories of filters for low vision:
Polarizing filters: These filters reduce glare, and also heighten the perception of color and relief.
Color Filters: Color filters improve visual function by optimizing contrast perception .
Filters for low vision patients function in a similar manner to sunglasses, in that they affect the amount of and type of light that enters the eyes. In addition to increasing visibility and comfort, they can also provide protection for the eyes.
For color filters, the different tints change the nature of the light entering the eyes to provide additional clarity and contrast in different situations (for some, filters are needed while outdoors while sunny or while cloudy; for others, while indoors.
Polarizing filters filter out glare to increase comfort and to increase visibility outdoors.
Filters for low vision patients are either prescribed by a low vision doctor, following a low vision eye exam, which tests for color contrast deficits. After the exam the doctor or low vision therapist will walk you through the options of filters that are available and match the doctor's recommendations.
There are a few types of lenses which utilize filters.
Fitovers: These are lenses that can go over regular glasses lenses, and are ideal for patients who wear prescription glasses but do not need a medical tint at all times. Additionally, patients who want lenses for low vision as quickly as possible, and those who wear different types of glasses and want an option that works with all of their frames.
Fitover lenses are also often more affordable
Clip-on: Clip-on lenses are also easily removable, but are more fitted for a specific pair of frames, making it hard to use with multiple pairs of glasses.
Plano glasses: Plano glasses are a lightweight, convenient option for patients who do not already wear prescription glasses.
Built In on lens filters: Filters can be ordered for your prescription lens. Another example of filters are escoop glasses that include slight magnification and prisms.