• Because someone with macular degeneration has peripheral (side) vision, are there glasses out there with mirrors that are focused to the front of the eye to reflect back to the sides?


    Question:

    Because someone with macular degeneration has peripheral (side) vision, are there glasses out there with mirrors that are focused to the front of the eye to reflect back to the sides? I don't see how just magnifying can help.


    Answer:

    The concept of using peripheral vision to restore central vision has been tried with generally disappointing results. The reason is that different parts of the retina have different structures and functions.

    The center of the retina, or macula, has more cells called cones that are responsible for functions such as resolution or acuity (sharpness) and color vision. The peripheral (side) retina has other cells called rods that are responsible for night vision and peripheral vision. These cells are important for overall visual function, but are not capable of the resolution needed for visual tasks such as reading or driving. Magnification can be useful in some patients with milder degrees of macular damage.

    Low vision specialists can try to find an area of the macula that is still capable of better function and some patients can learn to use this area for improved visual function.


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