What Are Vision Aids for Low Vision

Anyone who struggles with seeing items clearly when reading a book, driving a car, or working in the garden should consider vision aids. Everyday life can be greatly improved, even basic tasks you struggle with–when choosing vision aids in North Carolina. See how Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD supports low vision with vision aids.

What Are Vision Aids

A vision aid is a device used by an individual with vision problems. Whether the patient cannot see close objects or has blurry vision when looking far away, vision aids offer a solution. The most common types of vision aids include:

  • Magnification lenses
  • Transition lenses
  • Bifocal and trifocal eyeglasses
  • High-tech aids, such as apps or electronic light-up devices

Patients can find the right type of vision aid at our local eye doctor in Charlotte, NC. The benefits of vision aids involve overall life improvement with social, motor skills, and learning performance.

What is Low Vision

When patients complain about seeing hazy or fuzzy imagery or words, they most likely have low vision. Low vision is a type of vision condition occurring in patients who need more light for their cones to work properly.

This is “eye science” and involves the inner workings of the eyeball and retina. For people with low vision, increasing the amount of light used when doing activities like reading a recipe will allow them to see what they could not see before.

Contact an Eye Doctor in Asheville, NC, for Low Vision Treatment

Contact Dr. Paul today at 910-208-9012 for low vision correction using vision aids. We have three office locations in Wilmington, Charlotte, and Asheville, NC, to best serve our patient community. We have the resources, eyeglasses, and surgical treatments for low vision.

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Elevating Eye Care Standards: A Look at The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina’s Professional Affiliations

The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina
In the realm of healthcare, professional associations play a crucial role in advancing knowledge, promoting best practices, and fostering a sense of community among practitioners. At The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina, our doctors harness the power of several reputable professional associations to provide the highest standard of care for people with visual impairments.

North Carolina Optometric Society

The North Carolina Optometric Society (NCOS) is a regional association that brings together optometrists practicing in the state. By actively participating in the NCOS, doctors Paul, Krug, and Robertson at The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina engage with fellow professionals, exchange ideas, and collaborate on initiatives that benefit the local community. This affiliation allows us to stay informed about state-specific regulations, advancements in optometric technology, and emerging trends in eye care to provide patients with the most comprehensive and relevant treatments.

American Optometric Association 

As members of the American Optometric Association (AOA), all of our doctors demonstrate their commitment to advancing the field of optometry and promoting the highest level of patient care. The AOA serves as a unified voice for optometrists nationwide, advocating for their interests and supporting professional development. We access educational materials, research publications, and networking opportunities through our affiliation, enriching our clinical knowledge and expanding our skills to serve our patients better.

The American Academy of Optometry 

Being members of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) is a mark of distinction and dedication to advancing the field of optometry. Optometrists who are part of the AAO community gain access to a vast network of like-minded professionals and cutting-edge resources. Membership in the AAO demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning and professional growth, as the organization offers numerous opportunities for continuing education, research collaborations, and participation in various events and conferences. By engaging with the AAO, our doctors stay abreast of the latest advancements in optometric science and technology, enabling us to provide the highest quality care to our patients. Furthermore, being part of this esteemed community fosters a spirit of camaraderie and the exchange of ideas, further enriching our practices and elevate our standards of optometry as a whole.

Being a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) is a prestigious recognition that signifies a high level of professional achievement and commitment to the field of optometry. Dr. Casey Krug has been awarded this esteemed designation representing her exceptional dedication to advancing the optometric profession through education, research, and clinical practice. Fellows of the American Association of Optometry demonstrate outstanding leadership, expertise, and contributions in their respective areas of specialization. This distinction requires meeting stringent criteria, including a significant body of work, active involvement in professional organizations, and ongoing commitment to professional development. As a Fellow, Dr. Krug is acknowledged for her commitment to the highest standards of patient care, continuous learning, and the advancement of optometry as a whole.

Macular Degeneration Association 

Macular degeneration is a prevalent eye condition affecting millions of people worldwide. We at the Low Vision Centers of North Carolina recognize the importance of staying current on one of the most prevalent eye conditions that we see people for. Through our affiliation with the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA), we gain access to valuable resources, research, and support networks. This enables us to provide personalized care to patients with macular degeneration, helping them maintain their independence and quality of life despite their visual challenges.

Being named an Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Center of Excellence in 2022 by the Macular Degeneration Association is a prestigious recognition that highlights our commitment to combating this sight-threatening condition. This designation signifies that we have demonstrated outstanding expertise, patient care, and advancements in the field of AMD treatment and management. The MDA’s acknowledgment is a testament to our dedication to staying at the forefront of AMD research, employing state-of-the-art technologies, and offering comprehensive and compassionate care to patients. By earning this accolade, we have proven ourselves as leaders in the fight against AMD, providing hope and improved quality of life to people affected by this progressive eye disease. This recognition also emphasizes the importance of collaboration among professionals and organizations in the ongoing battle against AMD, inspiring others in our medical community to strive for excellence in their endeavors.

International Academy of Low Vision Specialists 

To further enhance our expertise in the field of low vision, Dr. Ed Paul is an active fellow of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS). This professional association connects low vision optometrists worldwide who specialize in assisting people with low vision conditions like macular degeneration, Stargardt disease, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and more. He stays up-to-date with best practices by participating and speaking at conferences, workshops, and educational programs organized by the IALVS. He connects with quality vendors, ensuring our patients receive the best low vision care.

Better Business Bureau 

As a testament to our commitment to ethical and transparent business practices, we are proud Better Business Bureau (BBB) members. This affiliation signifies our dedication to maintaining the highest customer service and professional integrity standards. Adhering to the BBB’s code of conduct instills confidence in our patients, reassuring them that they receive reliable, honest, and trustworthy care.
Our parent company, the Paul Vision Institute, maintains an A+ rating from the BBB. It signifies the highest level of trustworthiness, reliability, and customer satisfaction. An A+ rating indicates that a business has consistently met or exceeded the BBB’s stringent standards for ethical business practices, transparency, and responsiveness to customer concerns. To attain and maintain an A+ rating, we have demonstrated a commitment to integrity, honesty, and resolving patient disputes fairly and on time. It is a testament to our dedication to building strong customer relationships, fostering trust within North Carolina and nationally, and upholding the highest standards of professionalism.

The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina’s affiliations with the North Carolina Optometric Society, American Optometry Association, Macular Degeneration Association, International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, and the Better Business Bureau demonstrate our commitment to excellence and our dedication to providing the best possible care for people with visual impairments. Through these professional associations, our doctors remain at the forefront in our field, continuously expanding our knowledge and skills to deliver the best patient outcomes.

The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina

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Living Fully with Low Vision: The Importance of Low Vision Rehabilitation for Geographic Atrophy

A smiling, silver-haired woman wearing bioptic telescope glasses playing cards with a friend
As low vision optometrists, our mission at The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina is to help those with geographic atrophy make the most of their vision and maintain their independence in daily life. We’ve come across an enlightening study that emphasizes the significant benefits of low vision rehabilitation for those living with this condition. Below are some essential insights from the research and an explanation as to why seeking low vision rehabilitation is a crucial step in improving the quality of life for people with geographic atrophy.

Understanding Geographic Atrophy

Geographic atrophy is a form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and is a leading cause of vision loss for those ages 50 and older. It affects the central part of the retina, known as the macula, which is responsible for sharp, detailed vision. As this condition progresses, it causes a loss of retinal cells and leads to blind spots in the central visual field. People with geographic atrophy may experience difficulties with reading, recognizing faces, driving, and other essential everyday activities.

The Role of Low Vision Rehabilitation

Low vision rehabilitation is a specialized approach designed to assist people with significant visual impairments. Unlike traditional vision correction, which aims to restore perfect vision, low vision rehabilitation focuses on maximizing the remaining vision and adapting to vision loss. As low vision optometrists, our primary goal is to empower the people that come to us with the tools and techniques to navigate life with confidence and independence.

The Study’s Findings

The study discussed in the original article highlights the immense benefits of low vision rehabilitation for people living with geographic atrophy. Researchers found that patients who underwent low vision rehabilitation experienced remarkable improvements in various aspects of their lives. These improvements included enhanced visual function, increased mobility, improved reading abilities, and a more positive outlook on life despite their visual challenges.

Visual Aids and Assistive Devices

One crucial aspect of low vision rehabilitation involves the use of visual aids and assistive devices. These tools can make a world of difference for those with geographic atrophy. Magnifiers, telescopic lenses, electronic reading devices, and specialized lighting can help people with low vision perform daily tasks more comfortably and efficiently.

Learning Adaptive Techniques

In addition to using visual aids, low vision rehabilitation also involves teaching adaptive techniques. These techniques help people with geographic atrophy develop strategies to overcome challenges in their daily lives. For example, patients can learn how to use eccentric viewing, a method that involves using a different part of the retina to see objects that would otherwise fall into their blind spots.

Enhancing Quality of Life

The impact of low vision rehabilitation on the overall quality of life for those with geographic atrophy cannot be overstated. By empowering patients with the skills and tools to maintain their independence, they regain a sense of control over their lives. This newfound independence can lead to improved emotional well-being, social engagement, and participation in activities they once enjoyed.

The Importance of Early Intervention

We at the North Carolina Centers for Low Vision strongly advocate for early intervention when it comes to geographic atrophy and other vision-related conditions. Detecting vision changes early allows for timely access to low vision rehabilitation, which can significantly improve outcomes and preserve patients’ independence and well-being.

Our Approach

At The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina, we take pride in offering a comprehensive and evidence-informed approach to empower people with AMD and geographic atrophy. Our commitment to our patient’s well-being extends beyond traditional vision correction. We believe in embracing a holistic perspective to ensure that our patients lead fulfilling lives despite the challenges posed by low vision.

Here’s what people can expect from our best-practice techniques:

Personalized Vision Goal Setting:

We understand that everyone’s vision journey is unique. That’s why we begin with a thorough discussion about vision goals. By understanding specific needs and aspirations, we tailor our rehabilitation plan to help people achieve the outcomes that matter most to them.

Emphasizing Nutrition and Lifestyle:

A healthy lifestyle can play a significant role in maintaining vision and overall well-being. Our comprehensive approach includes nutritional and lifestyle counseling to optimize ocular health. We believe that the right choices in diet and daily habits positively impact visual capabilities.

Equipping Our Patients with Adaptive Devices:

Visual aids and adaptive equipment can be game-changers for those with low vision. Our team is well-versed in assessing and fitting our patients with suitable low vision devices. From telescopic glasses to electronic reading devices, we provide those with low vision the tools that make daily tasks and passion projects more manageable and enjoyable.

Mastering Environmental Modifications:

Creating an environment that caters to low vision needs is essential for independent living. We offer training and implementation of environmental modifications to ensure that our patient’s homes and workspaces are adapted to support their visual requirements effectively.

Empowering Vocational and Mobility Skills:

Losing vision doesn’t mean losing opportunities. Our rehabilitation program includes vocational and mobility-related training to enhance employability and confidence in navigating the world around us. We aim to help people maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

Building a Supportive Community:

Living with low vision can be challenging, but those with low vision are not alone. We foster a supportive community where we connect people with fellow folks that share similar experiences. Together, we create an environment of compassion, encouragement, and understanding.

Low vision rehabilitation is a transformative approach for people with geographic atrophy, helping them maintain an independent and fulfilling life despite their visual challenges. As low vision optometrists, we’ve witnessed the positive impact of this rehabilitation firsthand. If you or someone you know is living with geographic atrophy or any other visual impairment, reach out to us to explore the possibilities of low vision rehabilitation and unlock the potential to live life to the fullest. Remember, vision loss doesn’t have to mean giving up on living a vibrant and engaged life. With the right support and tools, those with geographic atrophy can continue to thrive and embrace life’s beautiful moments. Call our office today to schedule an appointment in Asheville, Wilmington, or Charlotte. 910-208-9010.

The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina

The Link Between Poor Diet and Low Vision

Low vision is a medical condition that affects the clarity of your sight. If you have low vision, you may have difficulty seeing well enough to read, drive, or to recognize the faces of people you know. While this condition is permanent, there are solutions that may help prevent it from worsening, and often, diet plays a big role. Your eye doctor in Wilmington and Charlotte, NC, can give you tips for preventing and managing low vision.

Free Radicals and the Formation of Cataracts

Nutrients such as zinc, selenium, riboflavin, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene are all helpful in protecting the eyes from free radicals. Free radicals are a natural result of oxidative stress. They’re present in everyone, and they contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and atherosclerosis. Where the eyes are concerned, they contribute to the formation of cataracts, a leading cause of blindness in the United States. By eating a diet high in healthy nutrients, you may lower your risk of developing both cataracts and macular degeneration — two conditions that contribute to low vision.

Low-Vision Prevention

Vision problems often manifest with age. However, by eating a healthy diet filled with leafy greens, berries, and foods high in carotene, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, you may lessen your risk of developing eye conditions, including low vision. And by switching to a healthier diet after diagnosis, managing conditions such as diabetes, and seeking ongoing treatment from your eye professional, it may be possible to prevent your condition from worsening.

Help for Low Vision in Wilmington and Charlotte, NC

If you’re experiencing low vision in Wilmington, and Charlotte, NC, Low Vision Centers of North Carolina can help. Call today to schedule an eye exam and to discuss options for managing your condition.

Treating Binocular Vision Disorders  

Binocular vision disorders are relatively common. The good news is that Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD, diagnoses and treats binocular vision disorders at the Low Vision Centers of North Carolina.

Treating Binocular Vision Disorders

Vision therapy is an eye-exercise regimen that helps reduce, or eliminate, the symptoms people with binocular vision experience.

These symptoms include:

  • Double vision.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.

Personalized Binocular Vision Treatment Programs

Top North Carolina Optometrist, Dr. Edward Paul, creates binocular vision treatment programs that are geared towards improving a patient’s visual skills by strengthening the communication signals between his or her eyes and brain. These treatment programs may include vision aids and therapy.

Prismatic Eyeglasses for the Treatment of Binocular Vision

Dr. Edward Paul, DO, PhD, may use prismatic eyeglasses to treat binocular vision.

Exercises to Improve Binocular Vision

At the Low Vision Centers of North Carolina, patients perform their vision therapy exercises to improve the coordination between their eyes and brain. Dr. Edward Paul, DO, PhD, may also recommend that his patients perform their vision therapy exercises at home.

At-home binocular vision exercises include:

  • Around the world

While sitting comfortably with his or her eyes looking directly ahead, the patient needs to:

Move both eyes upward for 3 seconds, downward for 3 seconds, to the right for 3 seconds and then to the left for 3 seconds.

Next, the patient looks towards the upper left for 3 seconds and then the upper right for 3 seconds.

The last part of this exercise involves rotating the eyes clockwise for two turns and counter-clockwise for two turns.

  • Pencil push-ups

The patient holds a pencil in front of his or her face and focuses on one of the letters on the pencil.

While focusing on the chosen letter, the patient slowly brings the pencil closer to his or her face until the letter looks double. At this point, start the exercise over again.

The length of time and frequency of each therapy depends on the patient’s diagnosis (e.g., ocular albinism) and needs. Dr. Paul provides the patient with this information following his or her consultation.

Contact Your North Carolina Dentist Today

If you are in the Charlotte, Wilmington or Asheville, North Carolina area, and you need treatment for binocular vision, please contact one of the Low Vision Centers of North Carolina today.

To make an appointment at your nearest location, please call:

  • Charlotte location: 910-208-9010
  • Wilmington location: 910-208-9012
  • Asheville location: 910-720-4187

 

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 The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina today.

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. The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina 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.

How Long Will I Be Able to Drive With Low Vision? 

Those who suffer from low vision in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC still have basic needs and rights, which typically includes the need to drive and the right to operate a motor vehicle. Of course, operating a motor vehicle should only be done when the driver can see properly. In fact, this is why licensing agencies make applicants take a rudimentary eye exam before issuing a driver’s license. Persons with low vision often have deteriorating vision; that is to say, they may experience worsening vision over time, limiting their ability to drive. So how long will you be able to drive with low vision? It depends.

When Was Your Low Vision Diagnosed?

If your low vision was only recently diagnosed, chances are that you are in the early stages. Early stage low vision may include minor complications such as difficulty reading or doing other activities in low light, or having trouble making out finer details in low light. In the early stages, you may be safely able to continue normal driving practices, albeit with some extra caution while driving at night.

How Diminished is Your Vision?

The length of time you’ll be able to safely drive will also depend on how diminished your vision already is. Note that with the help of certain low vision devices in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC, you may be able to maintain your driving privileges for longer.

Driving represents more than just operating a motor vehicle. It enables independence, freedom and accessibility. But if your low vision is causing increased concern over safety to yourself and others, it’s best to consider alternatives, such as public transportation, private taxis or Uber, or some other helpful low vision aids in Wilmington and Charlotte, NC for persons with low vision. Talk to us today about how to extend your safe driving abilities for as long as possible.

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, The Low Vision Centers of North Carolina 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.

Why You Need to Bring Your Sunglasses to Your Low Vision Exam

Do you need a low vision evaluation in Charlotte, North Carolina? If so, be sure to bring along your favorite pair of sunglasses. This exam can leave your eyes a little more sensitive for a short while afterward, so you’ll be glad to have the extra protection. Wondering why that is? To find your answer, just check out this quick guide on just why you’ll want your sunglasses after a low vision exam.

Pupil Dilation Allows for a Closer Look

To complete the low vision evaluation and fully assess your eye health, you need to have your pupils dilated using special eye drops. After a few minutes, your pupils will widen, so your eye doctor can take an even closer look at the inner structures of your eye.

Your eye doctor can then check the health of your eyes and perform a number of helpful tests, such as:

  • Acuity: Determines how well you can see letters up close and from far away
  • Color: Reveals your ability to accurately see colors across the full spectrum
  • Depth: Assesses your binocular vision strength and ability to see in 3D

Your eye doctor may perform additional low vision tests as well depending on your initial results. No matter how many tests they end up performing, your pupils will stay dilated for several hours after your appointment.

Wider Pupils Let More Light In

When not artificially dilated, your pupils would normally shrink as the light intensity increases, and then grow wider in dim light. After getting your pupils dilated, however, they stay big, which lets in far too much light in bright conditions.

Since this can feel rather uncomfortable, save yourself the trouble and simply bring your sunglasses. You can then pop on your shades whenever the world feels much too bright and comfortably wait for the dilation to wear off.

Ready for a Low Vision Evaluation in Charlotte, North Carolina?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of low vision, you can schedule an evaluation with our Charlotte, North Carolina, eye doctors by calling 910-208-9010. During your call, we’ll help you find a convenient time to come by and let you know what to expect. We’ll also provide a reminder to bring along your sunglasses, so you can comfortably shield your eyes from bright light after your exam.