19th September 2021
3 minute read
Categorised under:
Eye Health

Living with low vision | National Eye Health Week

Did you know that every day, around 250 people start to lose their sight? Or that more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives?

Low vision, otherwise known as visual impairment, is when your sight can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or by medical or surgical intervention. Low vision is more common in older people and is becoming more prevalent as the population of the UK ages. The most common cause of low vision is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Signs of low vision and vision loss

Your first point of call if you think you are experiencing sight loss is to book an appointment with your optometrist. Here are some of the signs which may mean you need to seek support:

  • difficulty driving, especially at night
  • colours appearing washed out
  • difficulty judging the depth of stairs (limited depth perception)
  • straight lines appearing unsteady (this can be a sign of AMD)
  • difficulty reading, even with glasses or contact lenses

For more signs of sight loss please click here.

What support is available for people with low vision?

If your optician detects a problem with your eyes, you’ll be referred to an eye hospital for a consultation with an ophthalmologist (eye specialist).

If your vision can’t be improved with the use of glasses or contact lenses, or medical/surgical intervention, you may be referred to a low-vision clinic.

A low vision clinic will provide guidance and advice about how to manage at home, and with everyday activities such as shopping, reading and writing. They will also conduct assessments to see if you are eligible to be registered as partially sighted or blind.

There are also many aids available for people living with low vision. Click below for some tech tips and simple steps to make everyday tasks easier:

Living with low vision original article

If you think your vision is changing, it’s important you have a regular eye test every two years, unless advised otherwise. If you are diagnosed with vision impairment that cannot be corrected, your dispensing optician can advise on strategies to make the most of the vision you do have and signpost you to vision services in your area.

Being diagnosed with low vision can be upsetting to many people, but help is available from specialist eye clinics, your GP and organisations such as the RNIB.

Remember that it’s important to monitor your eye health and ideally you should visit your opticians for an eye check about every two years.

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