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Although low vision can occur at any stage in life, it primarily affects the elderly. However, low vision is not a natural part of aging. Although most people experience some physiological changes with age (presbyopia ), these changes usually do not lead to low vision. Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases. Common causes of low vision, particularly with older adults, include macular degeneration , glaucoma , and diabetic retinopathy . When vision impairment is recognized early, treatment can be more effective, enabling people to maintain as much independence as possible.
You are legally blind when the best corrected central acuity is less than 20/200 (perfect visual acuity is 20/20) in your better eye, or your side vision is narrowed to 20 degrees or less in your better eye. People who are legally blind may still have some useful vision, just like people who have low vision. If you are legally blind, you may qualify for certain government benefits
The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have low vision. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your optometrist for a complete exam. Your optometrist can tell the difference between normal changes which are common with age and changes caused by eye disease. It is estimated that approximately 17% of people over the age of 65 are either blind or have low vision.
Ophthalmologists, optometrists and occupational therapists make up the team of health care professionals who will work with you starting with your vision examination, and continuing to work with you to identify treatment options, which include:
Optical devices that will help you adapt,
such as magnifiers, telephones or closed-circuit televisions.
modifications to maximize your remaining vision.
Many types of assistive devices are available to assist
people with low vision. These items include special glasses and other
magnification devices, and large print reading materials, shown above.
Other communication aids include computer software and various other
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