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  • Low Vision Symptoms

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    Individuals  with low vision may not see well enough to perform everyday tasks even with the help of regular glassescontact lenses, medicine or surgery.

    They may have difficulty:

    • Reading
    • Using a computer or tablet
    • Writing
    • Watching television
    • Recognizing faces
    • Seeing switches, dials or other mechanical controls
    • Seeing the board at front of a school classroom
    • Shopping
    • Driving a car

    Children may have difficulty learning to read or seeing material presented in a classroom.

    Patterns of Vision and Vision Loss

    Central vision

    This is the detailed vision we use when we look directly at something. Conditions that damage the macula (center of the retina), like macular degeneration (AMD) may affect central vision. 

    Peripheral vision

    This is the less-detailed vision we use to see at the edges of our vision, outside the area we’re looking directly at. Glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa often affect peripheral vision first.

    Diabetic retinopathy strokes,  and cerebral/cortical visual impairment can affect the peripheral and central vision in either eye.

    Contrast sensitivity

    This is the ability to distinguish between objects of similar tones like milk in a white cup or to distinguish facial features. Most eye problems can decrease contrast sensitivity.

    Depth perception

    This is the ability to judge the position of objects in the space around you. Vision loss in one eye, or damage to the brain can affect depth perception, such as gauging the height of a step or reaching for a cup.

    The phantom visions of Charles Bonnet syndrome

    About 20 to 30 percent of people with vision loss see life-like images that they know are not real. This is called Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS). This is just part of vision loss for some people. It is similar to how people who have lost a limb may feel phantom pain and is not a sign of a mental health problem.