shutterstock_239379919Low Vision is a condition caused by eye disease, in which visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses. A person with 20/70 vision standing 20 feet away from an eye chart sees what a person with perfect vision can see from 70 feet away. Low vision eye exams can take twice as long as a regular eye exam because the tests are very thorough. Go over the details of how you like to spend each day and ask your optometrist questions to make sure you are prescribed the right optical device to suit your lifestyle. The optometrists at Southern Utah Eye Care will also go over a series of questions with you prior to the exam. Acknowledge any family history of eye problems as many conditions are hereditary and can lead to low vision.

Low Vision eye charts are different from the standard eye charts you are used to seeing in the optometrist’s office. These special low vision eye charts contain different-sized letters and numbers that can help determine the sharpness or clarity of both your near (reading) and distance vision. The Amsler Grid Test is used to check for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. When the lines on the grid become wavy or distorted that is an indication of a developing eye problem. Visual Field Testing is done to test the peripheral vision and the limitations of what can be seen around you. This can be done with a visual field analyzer or a visual field test such as the tangent screen. Depth perception, color blindness, and contrast sensitivity can be determined through specialized testing as well.

The devices to treat low vision are specific to your daily tasks and categorized as either “near” or “far” optical devices. Some are designed for reading a magazine while others are for reading street signs. Your doctor may even prescribe a different device for when you want to relax and watch television. Low vision devices can be magnifiers, reading glasses, or a small telescope. It is very important that you understand how to use each device and our optometrists will review all of the details with you.