Did you know that low vision is a leading cause of blindness in the United States? In fact, it accounts for more than half of all cases of blindness. That’s why it’s important to be aware of low vision and its risks. This month, we’re taking a closer look at low vision and what you need to know about it. We’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for low vision, as well as ways to prevent vision loss.

Low Vision Awareness Month is celebrated each year in February. According to the National Eye Institute. Over 4.2 million Americans over 40 are visually handicapped, with 3 million having low vision.

What is Low Vision?

You may have trouble seeing even with suitable glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery when you have low vision. Some formerly simple activities, such as reading the mail, purchasing food items, preparing meals, and writing letters, can become difficult.

Some Americans aged 65 years and older are afflicted with low vision. The most common reasons for losing eyesight in people over 65 are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma.

Vision loss is most often caused by inherited eye conditions, infectious and autoimmune eye diseases, or trauma in younger persons.

Treatment Options for Low Vision

There is no “cure” for low vision. Routine checkups, early detection, and treatment of common eye diseases can help preserve eye health. Some specialists work with people who have low vision. An ophthalmologist or optometrist. They will work with you to develop a vision rehabilitation plan with strategies and assisted devices to meet your needs.

The ophthalmologist or optometrist will start with evaluating the functional vision, abilities, challenges and help them come up with some realistic goals. Rehabilitation may be required, they will recommend low vision aids to maximize their vision.

Vision rehabilitation can include:

While vision rehabilitation cannot restore lost sight, it can help to maximize any existing sight. For individuals with no vision, it can provide the techniques to maintain an independent lifestyle.

If you or someone you know is suffering from low vision, Braille Institute is offering free online seminars this month with eye doctors and specialists discussing important topics such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, nutrition, eye health, along with cancer, and the eye, which can all cause low vision.

Low vision is a leading cause of blindness. While low vision can’t be cured, it can be managed with the right treatment. If you are experiencing any changes in your vision, whether gradual or sudden, we recommend that you see a specialist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment for low vision can help keep you seeing clearly for many years to come.