Have you ever had trouble seeing things that are right in front of you? Do you ever feel like you can’t make out faces even if people are nearby because it seems as though something is blocking your view? Are activities like watching TV or reading the newspaper becoming difficult for you? If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of those questions then you’re likely suffering from low vision.

Having low vision or visual impairment basically means that you are experiencing a loss of eyesight. Unlike other vision problems which can be fixed through the use of prescription glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, low vision requires different types of treatment or care.

Here are some of the basics of low vision and how you can deal with the problem.

Causes
The condition of low vision or vision impairment can come from eye diseases. Cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are just some causes of this condition. Some eye injuries, too, can contribute to the development of low vision problems. Additionally, illnesses like eye cancer or injuries to the brain can increase your risk of low vision.

Low vision is also more commonly manifested in adults and seniors but it should be noted that low vision doesn’t accompany normal eye aging. Instead, as mentioned above, low vision comes with eye diseases and trauma.

Symptoms
Having trouble seeing despite having the help of your prescription glasses or contact lenses may be a sign that you’re suffering from low vision. This usually manifests in having difficulty doing vision-led tasks like driving, watching television, and reading.
Problems with your central or peripheral vision as well as having blurry vision can also be a sign of low vision. Nyctalopia or night blindness, a problem which makes it difficult to see in dimly lit environments, is also an issue associated with this condition.

Getting diagnosed and treated:
Regular eye exams are integral to maintaining general eye health but it is especially important to consult an eye doctor if you find that you’re experiencing diminished vision. In the case of suspected low vision, your eye doctor will likely require a complete eye exam which involves various tests to evaluate your eye’s functions and check your eyes for any possible eye disease.

It’s essential to visit a doctor right away in case you suspect any eye problems especially since our eyes are very sensitive organs.

Lifestyle changes and rehabilitation
Losing one’s vision can be quite traumatic, especially if it gets in the way of doing tasks you could do formerly. However, this doesn’t have to be a tragic sentence but rather, it means finding new and different ways to continue doing the things you enjoy. It may require an adjustment period, true, and there are likely to be many changes that you might need to get used to but it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up your independence.

It might mean that you’ll have to fix up the light settings in your house so that it’s brighter. Or, maybe you’ll have to write using a pen with a darker, thicker point, like a marker or felt-tipped pen, so that you can see it better. There are many ways to still get around so you need not worry too much. However just in case, it’s also great to have a support system to help you through the adjustment period and to help you understand any feelings of anger and depression you might have connected to your new situation.

If you think you might be suffering from low vision, you should go to your friendly neighborhood eye doctor and have your eyes examined. Optometric physicians like Dr. Hetel Bhakta of Planet Vision EyeCare in Greenacres, FL can help diagnose and treat patients with such low vision problems.