Low Vision Services

LOW VISION is the term used to describe significant visual impairment that cannot be corrected fully with glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery. It includes:

  • Loss of best-corrected visual acuity to worse than 20/70 in the better eye.

  • Significant visual field / peripheral vision loss

  • Legal Blindness. In the United States, legal blindness is defined as visual acuity of 20/200 or worse (in the better eye, with the best possible vision correction in place) or a visual field that is constricted to 20 degrees or less.

Causes Of Low Vision

Although there are many conditions that may cause low vision, eye disease is the most common.  Examples of diseases that can cause low vision are: 

  • Cataracts - cause hazy or blurred vision.

  • Macular Degeneration - Blurred or obscured central vision

  • Diabetic Retinopathy -  causes blind spots, blurriness and visual distortions.

  • Glaucoma - Advancing disease causes poor peripheral vision and field restrictions.

  • Retinitis Pigmentosa - reduces peripheral vision and the ability to see in the dark.

  • Heredity conditions and eye injuries can result in low vision.

What To Do About Low Vision

If you are having difficulty with your vision, the most important action you can take is to call our office and schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and possible treatment for your problem.  If your vision cannot be corrected adequately with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications or surgery, your eye doctor can help you take the next steps toward coping with your new situation.  This often involves referral to Dr. Snavely, our low vision specialist.  

This low vision examination is conducted on a separate, follow up visit from your comprehensive exam.  Dr. Snavely will evaluate the degree and type of vision loss that you have.  She will discuss, demonstrate, and prescribe appropriate low vision aids which can help you with certain tasks you may be struggling with.  These can be special spectacles, lighted handheld magnifiers, stand magnifiers and telescopes.  Newer options use the latest in technology in developing digital magnifiers for reading, as well as software that simplifies computer use with magnification and text-to-speech features.  If you are having difficulty with light sensitivity or contrast, special tinted eyewear or filters can be prescribed.  Dr. Snavely can also recommend non-optical devices such as large text materials, special lighting features, or signature guides for signing documents.  If necessary, you may also be referred to a local mobility coach to help you maneuver in your home or community.  If you feel it helpful, you can also be referred to a mental health professional with experience in helping you cope with vision loss and its effect on you and your family.

If you would like to schedule a consultation for low vision services, please call our office at 717-626-8100.

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