The World Health Organisation defines low vision as:
A visual acuity of less than 6/18, but equal to or better than 3/60 in the better eye with best possible correction.
The problem with this definition is that it may exclude many people with a visual impairment whose ability to perform everyday tasks is greatly reduced.
A person with low vision is one who has an impairment of their visual function which cannot be corrected with conventional spectacles, contact lenses or medical intervention and which causes restriction in that person’s everyday life. In these instances, a low vision assessment can be the first step in helping to maximise the amount of usable vision.
Signs of vision loss
Any sight loss should be checked by an optometrist. Signs that you need to seek help include:
- Straight lines appearing wobbly / bent (this is a sign of AMD)
- Problems with distance tasks such as seeing people, street signs or bus numbers
- Difficulty reading, even with glasses or contact lenses
- Colours appearing to be ‘a bit washed out’
- Difficulty judging the depth of steps or kerbs
- Difficulty driving at night
- Difficulty navigating in unfamiliar places.
While low vision can’t be cured, or vision restored, we can offer the tools and provide support to help carry on living a full life. You can also benefit from no lengthy waiting lists and on-going follow-up appointments with the same optometrist.
A low vision assessment at PJ Brogans involves the following:
- Individual needs / requirements assessment
- Assessment of visual function including:
- distance and near visual acuity
- contrast sensitivity
- glare function
- central visual function
- visual fields
- Provision of low vision aids specific to your individual needs – there are a wide range of magnifiers, optical and non-optical aids available to purchase however we will advise on the specific strength / type depending on your vision, dexterity and the task you are wishing to undertake.
- Information and guidance will also be provided on how to optimise your vision
- Onward referral where applicable
Optometrist Roseleen McCann has many years of experience in the field of low vision and has recently obtained a Professional Certificate in Low Vison through the University of Ulster.