The Different Types of Low Vision and the Best Ways to Treat It

Do you have low vision? An optometrist in Wilmington, NC will be able to look at your eyes and know immediately what issues you are having. It’s possible you have low vision, or you could be experiencing something else.

What Is Low Vision?

Low vision is when you have vision loss that can’t be corrected using traditional methods such as glasses, contact lenses, or even surgery. However, low vision isn’t considered blindness since you still have some level of vision.

Some of the symptoms of low vision might include blurred vision, poor night vision, or blind spots. And the most common causes of low vision are glaucoma, diabetes, and age-related macular degeneration. There are, however, visual aids available that can help those with low vision.

What Are the Different Types of Low Vision?

There are several types of low vision. The most common types of low vision are as follows:

  • Central Vision Loss – this is when you have a blind spot in the center of one of your eyes.
  • Loss of Peripheral Vision – peripheral vision is your side vision, and this is when you can’t see anything to either side, below, or above eye level; however, you still have your central vision intact.
  • Night Blindness – this is your inability to see in low light areas such as anywhere at night or in a movie theater, etc.
  • Blurred Vision – this is when everything you see near and far is blurred.
  • Hazy Vision – this is when all your vision appears as if it has a hazy film or glare on it.

What Are the Best Ways to Treat Low Vision?

Some vision disorders are treatable, and some are not. However, finding the right optometrist is key to getting cutting-edge treatments that work for most people. Dr. Edward Paul is such a doctor and is widely known for finding treatments for many so-called “incurable” eye diseases. Keep reading to find out how to contact Dr. Paul.

Contact an Optometrist in Wilmington, NC

If you are having low vision problems in Wilmington, NC, and need an optometrist’s diagnosis, we would be happy to help Contact Dr. Edward Paul, OD, Ph.D. today.

What is Night Blindness?

Night blindness (nyctalopia) is a condition in which you are unable to see well at night or in dim light. It is frequently linked to difficulty in swiftly adjusting from a well-lighted to a dimly lit environment. It is a sign of an underlying eye condition, such as low vision in Wilmington, NC, rather than a disease in and of itself. Night vision problems are widespread in persons who are myopic. However, this is not related to retinal disease, but rather to optical impairments.

What Goes on Inside the Eye in Low Light?

Your eyes adjust to light on a constant basis. When there is little or no light, your pupils dilate, allowing more light to enter your eyes. The retina, which is a tissue at the back of your eye that houses all of the rod and cone cells, receives this light. Color vision is aided by cone cells. Rod cells aid with night vision. You can’t see as well or at all in the dark if those rods aren’t operating properly due to a disease, injury, or condition.

Symptoms of Night Blindness

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of night blindness:

  • When driving after dark, your eyesight becomes blurry
  • When driving at night, you have unusual difficulty adjusting to the darkness
  • Having trouble seeing in dimly lit environments, such as your home or a movie theater
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Reduced sensitivity to contrasting colors
  • Transitioning from bright to dark settings is slow and difficult
  • Walking at night and not being able to easily see pedestrians

Remember, night blindness is not a condition in and of itself. Frequently, it is a symptom of low vision. Visit your eye doctor in Wilmington, NC if you have symptoms related to night blindness or are having difficulties seeing in low light.

What Is Ocular Albinism?

Ocular albinism is a genetic condition that affects the color of the eyes. Occurring mainly in males, it essentially reduces the pigmentation of the iris and retina, which in turn affects vision. We’ll look at the mechanisms and prognosis for this disorder and why an eye doctor in Wilmington, NC may be able to help.

Symptoms of Ocular Albinism

The major characteristic of ocular albinism is a loss of both visual depth and sharpness. People may also experience rapid, involuntary eye movements, increased sensitivity to light, or two eyes looking in opposite directions. The vision loss is unfortunately permanent, though it’s worth noting that it typically does not worsen as people age.

Does Ocular Albinism Affect Other Parts of the Body?

No. In general, the condition only affects the color and functionality of the eyes. There may be some degree of lightening of the skin (compared to immediate family members), but the variances are usually subtle. In rare cases, ocular albinism may be associated with hearing loss though.

How Is Ocular Albinism Treated?

Type 1, sometimes called Nettleship-Falls, is typically treated with filtered glasses or sunglasses to control for light sensitivity. In some cases, surgery may be needed to help align the eyes and restore the body’s control over their direction. This is the most common type of this condition and other forms may require additional treatment or services.

Ocular Albinism in Wilmington

Ocular albinism in Wilmington, NC may not have an official cure per se, but there are options available to help manage the symptoms. Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD has an innate understanding of the condition and how it affects individuals. If you have questions or concerns about the disorder, contact the office today to make the first move.

Should People With Low Vision Avoid UV Rays?

If you have been diagnosed with low vision in Wilmington, NC, your vision is impaired to the point that it cannot be corrected by surgery, medication, or standard eyeglasses. Often caused by serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, or by other conditions such as diabetes, it is nevertheless still very important that you protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Why? Here are the most common reasons.

Skin Cancer on Eyelids

When you hear of skin cancer, you rarely hear about it involving a person’s eyelids. Yet if you fail to protect your eyes from UV rays, developing skin cancer on your eyelids is a real possibility. When your eyes are constantly exposed to the sun, UV radiation could lead to the forming of basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, or squamous cell carcinoma on your eyelids. Symptoms include having a lump or bump on your eyelid that bleeds easily yet does not heal up, the sudden loss of your eyelashes, or eyelid inflammation.

Formation of Cataracts

A common problem for many people who are diagnosed with low vision, the forming of cataracts has been shown in research studies to be directly linked to prolonged exposure to UV light and radiation. Since cataracts can lead to total blindness if not properly treated, you should always protect your eyes from UV rays as much as possible to preserve whatever amount of sight you still possess.

With more and more new treatments being introduced for patients suffering from low vision in Charlotte, NC, it is even more important that you do everything possible to avoid having harmful UV rays do further damage to your eyes. By being proactive today, you may be able to preserve as much of your sight as possible for the years ahead.

Signs You Suffer from Low Vision

If you suffer from low vision, you could be at risk. Low vision can cause events like car accidents, slips and falls, and even problems at work or school. Knowing the signs that you have low vision is important. If you can recognize the signs of a problem, you can seek help that can lead to improved vision and less risk overall. Here’s what you need to know about the signs of low vision in Charlotte and Wilmington NC.

Your Central or Peripheral Vision is Weak

If you suffer from low vision, you may have noticed that your central or peripheral vision is not what it used to be. Sometimes patients don’t notice when their peripheral vision is going, because peripheral vision isn’t as clear as central vision anyway. If you’ve recently missed seeing something that was coming out of the corner of your eye, this could be a sign that you need to see the eye doctor in Wilmington.

It’s Hard to See At Night

Do you get nervous when driving at night because you have a hard time seeing the road? Talk to your eye doctor. If it’s hard to see at night, this could be the result of deteriorating eyesight and the onset of low vision problems.

Your Vision is Blurry or Hazy

Blurry or hazy vision could be a symptom of a variety of problems. Your eye professional at Dr. Edward Paul can help you determine whether you need low vision treatment, glasses, or a corrective procedure can help. Don’t put off a visit to the eye doctor! Getting help may be able to prevent further deterioration of your eyesight.

How is Low Vision Diagnosed?

Some people are born with low vision, but it may also develop over time, as a person ages. Even if you enjoyed ideal vision when you were younger, it’s possible that your vision has deteriorated into the spectrum of low vision. Those over the age of 40 are more likely to develop low vision. However, anyone experiencing the symptoms of this condition should get a low vision evaluation in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC.

How is Low Vision Diagnosed?

The first step in a low vision evaluation is to find out what low vision symptoms you may be having. These include:

  • Hypersensitivity to glare
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Difficulty reading, writing or using a device such as a phone
  • Increase of “close calls” while driving
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • And more

In addition to asking about your symptoms, your eye doctor in Wilmington and Charlotte, NC will also review your family medical history as well as your own. You’ll then undergo an eye exam where the eye doctor will examine the internal and external condition of your eyes. You’ll need to have some tests done that measure the pressure inside of your eyes, as well as your ability to read an eye chart in various fonts, sizes and light conditions. Note that part of the comprehensive low vision evaluation is to rule out certain other underlying health conditions that may be affecting your vision. The low vision evaluation will take approximately an hour, so you should plan accordingly.

Don’t take chances or delay seeking treatment for any low vision symptoms you become aware of. Ignoring these signs can be more than inconvenient; it could be dangerous to you and others, especially while operating motor vehicles. Book an appointment to come in for a low vision evaluation in Charlotte or Wilmington, North Carolina.

3 Benefits of Low Vision Aids

Low vision aids is a broad term that can apply to a variety of specialty magnification aids. These products can include anything from loupes to telescopes to magnifying reading glasses. Unlike typical eyeglasses or magnifiers, these products are excellent for helping people with poor vision see a little clearer. If you’re looking for low vision aids in Charlotte, NC, we’ll look at the benefits of this decision.

Better Distance Viewing

Low vision aids were designed for people who need more assistance than your traditional pair of contacts or glasses can give. So if you need to be able to see farther, you can use low vision aids to give you a crisper picture of what lies beyond.

Task-Specific

Whether you’re reading small print or washing the dishes, low vision aids are designed to be task-specific, which can make your life a lot easier. In fact, much of the technology today is focused on creating portable devices that can be adjusted depending on what you’re up to throughout the day.

More Options

Low vision can interfere with your life in both expected and unexpected ways, and the frustration can cause people to skip the activities they love. Low vision aids can be a way to open the door to getting back to things you may have been missing out on.

Find an Optometrist in Charlotte, NC

If you’re looking for an optometrist in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD Low Vision Rehabilitation is here to help. Low vision aids come in an array and choosing isn’t always as simple as meets the eye. No matter what you’re looking for, we’re here to point you to the best technology available.

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Can Low Vision Be Reversed?

When most people think of low vision, blindness is the first thought that comes to mind. However, it is not considered to be blindness, since limited sight does still remain. But for those who suffer with this condition, it cannot be corrected by standard glasses, contact lenses, or even surgery. If you are questioning whether or not low vision can be reversed, keep the following information in mind when you visit with your eye doctor in Charlotte, NC.

What Causes Low Vision?

If you suffer from low vision, it was likely caused by diabetes, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration. Should your low vision in Charlotte, NC be caused by diabetic retinopathy, certain treatments may be available to maintain your current vision or possibly restore some vision. Yet in most cases, low vision will be permanent.

Common Types of Low Vision

Unfortunately, there are many types of low vision in Charlotte, NC. These include a loss of central or peripheral vision, night blindness, blurry vision, and hazy vision, which is characterized by your entire field of vision seeming to be covered by a glare or film.

Low Vision Aids Can Help

While your low vision may be permanent, the good news is that there are many different types of low vision aids that can improve your vision and quality of life. The most common include specialized telescopic glasses, magnifying glasses, hand magnifiers, and reading prisms. Should you suffer from retinitis pigmentosa and have no useful vision whatsoever, a retinal prosthesis may be an option. Able to partially restore vision, you may be able to successfully navigate sidewalks and doorways, read large lettering, and other tasks.

Since low vision cannot usually be reversed, prevention is key to maintaining as much of your sight as possible. Should you be diabetic or have other health conditions that could put your eyesight at risk, schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor in Charlotte, NC.

Why Do I Have to Blink So Much?

In most cases, people blink unconsciously. The blink reflex is spontaneous and generally happens so fast that it goes unnoticed. Most people would be hard-pressed to guess how many times they blink in the span of a minute. The “normal” number of blinks in a minute ranges from 15 times and 20 times, but of course, everyone is different. In general, you don’t have to worry if your blink rate is in the normal range. But there are times when your blinking is worth a second look.

When Blinking Changes Dramatically

If you all of a sudden notice that you need to blink a lot more or less than usual, you might want to see an eye doctor. Changes in blink rates can indicate that something is going on with your eyes.

For instance, you may develop a condition known as dry eyes. Dry eyes syndrome is a serious condition that means your eyes are not getting the moisture they need to be healthy. Dry eyes can be caused by:

  • Temporary external conditions
  • Physical deformity or malfunction in the eye
  • Eye injury
  • Lifestyle

If you notice that your blinking rate has increased or noticeably decreased, contact your eye doctor in Wilmington or Charlotte. Never ignore this development, as further damage to the eye could occur if it’s not treated promptly.

Computer Use and Blinking

A disturbing research report shows that people who use their computers for extended periods of time blink up to 66 percent less. You recall that blinking adds moisture to the surface of the eye, you can see that this lifestyle habit isn’t healthy. To prevent this occurrence, take regular breaks from the computer or at least look away at something in the distance.

Don’t ignore changes in your blinking habits. Your eye doctor in Charlotte or Wilmington will be able to help diagnose any problem and get you treated accordingly.

 

What to Expect During a Low Vision Evaluation

How do you know you could benefit from a low vision exam? A low-vision eye exam is specifically suited to individuals who have certain signs they are suffering from low vision, such as eye fatigue and trouble seeing close-up items. Here are a few questions you may have about what to expect during your low-vision exam with us at the office of Dr. Edward Paul, OD, Ph.D.

How long will the full evaluation take?

In general, you can expect your low vision exam to take about an hour. Part of that time will be spent discussing your family medical history, your medical history, and your existing and prior optometric health concerns. In order to get a full understanding of what could be affecting your vision, we take our time to get to know your eyes and you.

What aspects of your vision will be tested?

Several types of visual tests will be performed during the low vision exam. In many cases, tests will be individualized depending on what we suspect could be causing your issues. A few examples of tests that may be performed during your low vision exam include:

  • Depth perception tests to examine how your eyes are perceiving depth from various angles
  • Visual field tests to detect issues in either your central or peripheral vision
  • Color vision testing to accurately reveal issues with color perception
  • Visual acuity tests to determine vision capabilities from various distances

By the end of your full exam, we will have a much better understanding of how you see and how we could potentially help.

Contact Us for a Low Vision Evaluation in Charlotte

Low vision issues can affect your quality of life, but we may be able to help. Contact us at the office of Dr. Edward Paul, OD, Ph.D. to schedule an appointment for your low vision evaluation in Charlotte, NC.