What is a Low Vision Optometrist?

Low vision eye doctors are experts in conducting low vision examinations and in formulating plans to maximize remaining vision. By prescribing interventions such as the use of special visual aids, assistive devices, and vision rehabilitation therapy, patients can resume many of their activities and continue to enjoy a high quality of life. In addition to optometric knowledge, they have a unique understanding of lenses, specialty glasses, and other optical tools used for visual impairments. Finally, they are well equipped to address the emotional challenges patients face from visual impairment


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Low vision patients are sometimes told by eye doctors that there is nothing that can be done to help them. With proper treatment many patients are able to partake in activities that they never thought they would be capable of doing again. With proper treatment, they are able to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Causes of Low Vision

The challenge with this condition is that patients are unable to recover their lost eyesight, and the standard interventions don’t work for them. Treatment utilizes a host of aids and devices to maximize remaining eyesight, as well as comprehensive rehabilitation therapy which instructs the person in strategies for using their eyesight most effectively. 

There are many types of eye disease and medical conditions that cause this condition. They include the following:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: These are diabetic-induced eye disorders that affect the retina and eyesight.
  • Glaucoma: This condition (common with diabetes) occurs from fluid build-up which damages the eyes. Left undetected or untreated, it can lead to blindness. Early detection and intervention are critical to prevent it from progressing.
  • Cataracts: A condition involving cloudiness of the lens. Can be corrected surgically.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa: A series of genetic eye disorders affecting eyesight
  • Age-related macular degeneration: This ocular condition involves damage to the retina's macula. Macular degeneration is more common among the elderly.
  • Injury to the optic nerve: A traumatic injury can sometimes lead to visual deficiency.

Learn more about diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.

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What Can A Low Vision Eye Doctor Do for Me?

A low vision optometrist is trained to perform an eye evaluation to detect the condition, and to diagnose and treat it with various aids and interventions, which enable the person to utilize their remaining eyesight most effectively. This includes the use of rehabilitation therapy to learn how to maximize remaining eyesight

  • Prismatic glasses: These are sometimes referred to as high-powered reading glasses. 
  • Microscopic glasses: These are good for up-close work or reading.
  • Bioptic telescopes: Worn like spectacles, they improve the ability to see at a distance, and in certain U.S. states people are able to continue to legally drive a vehicle.
  • Magnifiers: These range from standard hand-held versions to more powerful ones with fixed stands.
  • CCTV: An electronic magnification device that projects images onto a monitor for enhanced magnification levels.

Learn more about prismatic glasses, bioptic telescopes, magnifiers and CCTVs.

Consulting A Low Vision Optometrist

Consulting A Low Vision Optometrist

Low vision optometrists have specialized knowledge and experience in conducting eye examinations, treating people with this condition, and in managing concerns and uncertainties about their condition. Their expertise in aids and other interventions  such as specialty glasses, magnifiers, telescopic devices, and rehabilitation therapy is crucial for helping patients learn to use their remaining eyesight most effectively. 

A primary function of a low vision optometrist is to help people resume a normal life where they can perform everyday tasks.  If you or someone you know has the condition, contact our low vision optometrist to find out more.

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Common Questions

An optometrist who specializes in low vision assesses the unique visual needs of patients experiencing reduced eyesight. They focus on the particular challenges faced by these individuals, providing customized solutions. Through a comprehensive examination, the low vision optometrist identifies the underlying causes and determines the extent of the visual impairment. They then work with patients to enhance their remaining vision using aids such as magnifiers, specialized glasses, and tailored strategies to improve daily functionality. The goal is to enable those with low vision to retain independence and enjoy their preferred activities.
Low vision diagnosis can be performed by both ophthalmologists and optometrists who are trained in this specialized area. They conduct thorough eye examinations, taking into account the patient's medical history, visual acuity, and any underlying health conditions. If low vision is detected, these professionals will typically create a personalized rehabilitation plan to maximize remaining sight. This plan may involve working closely with a low vision optometrist who is skilled in recommending adaptive devices and techniques to enhance the quality of life for those living with visual impairments.
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Low vision optometrists are specialized doctors who excel in conducting examinations and creating plans to maximize the use of remaining vision for patients with visual impairments. They prescribe interventions like visual aids, assistive devices, and vision rehabilitation therapy to help patients regain their ability to engage in various activities and maintain a high quality of life. These doctors possess extensive knowledge in optometry and are well-versed in lenses, specialty glasses, and other optical tools specifically designed for visual impairments. Moreover, they are equipped to address the emotional challenges that patients face due to their visual impairments. Low vision optometrists play a crucial role in helping individuals with low vision lead normal lives and perform daily tasks, and seeking their expertise can significantly improve the overall well-being of those affected by this condition.

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