Understanding low vision
A good way to understand low vision is if someone cannot see at six meters, what someone with normal vision can see at 60 meters; or if someone's peripheral vision (side vision) is narrow and less than 20 degrees in diameter.
This sounds complicated but it simply means that you may still have some useful sight, but you have gotten to a point where glasses are no longer enough. You now need to use other devices, technology, and adaptive strategies to keep you doing the things you love.
It’s important to know that having low vision doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you enjoy, it just means learning to do things differently.
Common signs of low vision
Some signs of vision loss often go unnoticed until the symptoms are advanced.
- Signs of vision loss typically include the following:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Difficulty reading
- Difficulty recognising faces
- Decreased peripheral (side) vision
- Increased clumsiness & bumping into things
- Difficulty seeing clearly at night
- Changes in colours
- Seeing halos around lights
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Eye fatigue
- Difficulty making sense of what you see
When these symptoms appear, it’s important to head to your eye specialist. A trip to your GP or optometrist is a great start, and they can refer you to further specialists.
It’s more common than you might think
Vision Australia estimates there are 453,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision. We project this number will grow to 564,000 by 2030. So don’t feel like you are alone. There are many people who share you experience; you can talk to and many support services Vision Australia can connect you to for help.
Connection between eye conditions and low vision
Many people today don’t make the connection between common eye conditions and low vision.
Often people get a diagnosis and worry there is nothing else that can be done to help, but that is not the case. There are many support services available to get back to doing the things you love and stay connected to your community. It’s just that many don’t make the connection between many of these eye conditions and the support and help available at Vision Australia.
Some common eye conditions include:
- Age related macular degeneration
Making the most of your remaining vision
At Vision Australia we can walk you through everything that is available to you, from funding options, to technology and one on one support from one of our expert team to help at home.
There are so many adaptative strategies we can teach you to maximize your remaining vision. Simple tricks and tips that can give you back your independence, help you feel more confident and in control, which for some relieves the burden of having to ask loved ones for support.
Most importantly the simple tricks, hacks and support shows many that having low vision doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you enjoy, it just means learning to do things differently.
How Vision Australia helps those with low vision
1. Low Vision Orthoptists
Our Low vision orthoptists are qualified allied eye health professionals who specialise in low vison care and take time to address your concerns about your vision. They work closely with you to provide personalised support, and clinical assessment, to determine the extent of your low vision and prescribe specialised glasses, magnifiers, or electronic devices best suited to you. The clinical assessment can be detailed in a report to access government funding for services, aids and equipment. Our orthoptists also provide training with low vision aids and clinical rehabilitation strategies to help you optimise your unique vision and improve your functionality in everyday life.
2. One-on-one training
It can be daunting to venture into the world of talking devices, electronic magnifiers, and apps. We have assistive technology experts that can walk you through what might suit your needs and budget.
3. Emotional support
Not many people understand the effects of vision loss without going through it themselves. We offer emotional support groups and one-on-one peer support to connect people going through similar circumstances. It’s about learning to cope, teaching you to become your own advocate, and regain independence.
All these services are available to you with NDIS or My Aged Care funding. You just need an updated eye report and Vision Australia can help you immediately.