About 1 in 28 Americans have low vision, which is a visual impairment not correctable through surgery, medications, glasses, or contact. Cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are diseases that cause low vision. While up to 80 percent of cases of low vision are preventable, many eye disorders that result in low vision cause subtle symptoms – or no symptoms at all. Furthermore, many people are unaware of low vision and its causes therefore do not undergo the routine eye exams that can detect the disorders that cause low vision.
February is Low Vision Awareness Month, a time in which eye care professionals and organizations work to raise awareness of these eye disorders. Some eye care professionals initiate information campaigns to increase the population’s understanding of low vision and the eye conditions that cause it.
Low vision is a medical condition that is not correctable through prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery, although visual aids can sometimes help. The degree of sight loss associated with low vision varies and can include poor night vision, blind spots, problems with glare, and a nearly complete loss of sight. Low vision is not the same as total blindness, as those with low vision still have some sight.
People with low vision have trouble performing daily tasks, such as reading, cooking, or recognizing faces. Many of those with low vision struggle to maintain independence.
Low vision is the result of a variety of conditions and injuries. Age-related disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma, can lead to low vision. Diabetes, glaucoma, brain injury, cancer of the eye, albinism, and inherited disorders of the eye can also result in low vision.
Many people are unaware of their risk for low vision. Risk factors for low vision include age, gender, ethnicity, family history, smoking, exposure to UVA /UVB light, and certain dietary habits. Low Vision Awareness Month allows eye care professionals an opportunity to bring attention to low vision and its causes.
If you have not received a routine vision exam lately, Illinois Eye Center offers EyeCareToday, which allow patients to get a same-day vision exam appointment.
To see how EyeCareToday can help support your desire for a healthier vision, call (309) 243-2400 to schedule an appointment or walk into our Peoria location any time, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am ‒ 3:30 pm.