What is low vision?
Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. With low vision, activities like reading, shopping, cooking, writing, and watching TV may be hard to do.
What are the signs of low vision?
Difficulty with any of the following—even when wearing glasses or contact lenses—could be an early warning sign of vision loss or eye disease:
- Recognizing faces
- Getting around the neighborhood
- Sewing or fixing things around the house
- Selecting and matching the color of clothes
The sooner vision loss or eye disease is detected, the greater a person’s chance of keeping his or her remaining vision.
What is vision rehabilitation?
Vision rehabilitation helps people adapt to vision loss and maintain their quality of life. Vision rehabilitation includes a wide range of services, such as training in the use of magnifiers and other adaptive devices, training in ways to complete daily living skills safely and independently, guidance on modifying residences, and information on where to locate resources and support. These services typically include a team of professionals that consists of a primary eye care professional and an optometrist or ophthalmologist specializing in low vision. Occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, certified low vision therapists, counselors, and social workers may also be part of this team.
Why is it important to raise awareness about low vision and vision rehabilitation?
Most people with low vision are age 65 or older. The leading causes of vision loss among older adults include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. With the aging of the population, the prevalence of these diseases and conditions is on the rise.
More prevalence data is available from NEI.
Where to find more information about low vision and vision rehabilitation
Image library Use photos and graphics from our collection of images to enhance your outreach activities.
Low vision statistics Read about the prevalence of low vision.
Publications catalog Find eye health resources from A to Z.
Low vision partners
At the national level, NEHEP works closely with many low vision partners, including:
See the entire list of NEHEP partners and learn about the NEHEP Partnership. NEHEP also collaborates with state and community-based organizations to provide information about low vision. Contact us if your organization is interested in working with NEHEP.