Vision Impairment

by Shaun Damon

The term Vision Impairment or low vision is used when referring to those individuals who do not see very well, in spite of using corrective measures like contact lenses, eyeglasses, medicine therapy, surgery or any other visual aids. Simply put, anyone with reduced, non-correctable vision problems is suffering from vision impairment. This problem can affect people of all ages, right from children to seniors.

The degree and severity of the impairment may vary from one individual to the other. Given below are the classifications of visual impairments, put forth by the World Health Organization:

  • 20/30 to 20/60: Near-normal vision or mild vision loss
  • 20/70 to 20/160: Moderate low vision or visual impairment
  • 20/200 to 20/400: Severe low vision or visual impairment
  • 20/500 to 20/1,000: Profound low vision or visual impairment
  • Less than 20/1,000: Near total blindness or near total visual impairment
  • No Light Perception: Total blindness or visual impairment
Visual impairment could also be classified into different levels, depending upon the loss of peripheral vision.

Causes

There are several different factors that could lead to vision impairment. In adults, some of the most common causes of this problem include:
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataract
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Family history of vision impairment
In children, some of the most common causes of vision impairment include eye disorders, injuries and birth defects.

Symptoms

You will know that you are suffering from vision impairment problems if you experience difficulty in –

  • Recognizing your family and friends
  • Performing simple activities like reading, sewing, cooking and so on
  • Matching and selecting colors
  • Reading names of stores
  • Following traffic signals
You are only suffering from vision impairment if you experience the symptoms mentioned above even after utilizing vision-enhancing aids. Very often, these are symptoms of vision loss or an eye disease, which needs to be treated by an eye care professional without any delay. Therefore, do visit a specialist in case you experience any changes in your vision.

Treatment

Unfortunately, vision impairment is never temporary; vision once lost cannot be restored. However, you can manage this problem and lead a near-normal life, with the help of certain vision rehabilitation measures. These generally include visual aids like special glasses and large print books. The treatment for vision loss should include a team of professionals, such as –

  • Certified low vision therapists
  • Counselors
  • Mobility and orientation specialists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Optometrists
  • Social workers
In fact, many instances of vision loss are preventable with the help of regular eye exams and prompt treatment. Therefore, do set up an appointment with your regular eye care provider to know more about preventing vision loss.

References

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/visionimpairmentandblindness.html

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