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Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

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Low Vision

Low vision is significant vision impairment that usually results from serious eye disease or an injury. The vision loss, which is characterized by either reduced visual acuity (to 20/70 or worse) or reduced field of view, can’t be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.

Low vision can affect both children and adults, but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which are some of the most common causes of the condition.

Patients with low vision may have complete central or peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, poor low-light vision, loss of light sensitivity and/or loss of contrast, making daily activities such as writing, watching TV, driving or reading difficult or impossible. Since the vision loss can’t be corrected, low vision requires significant adjustments to daily life and the help of techniques and specialized low vision aids to help you maximize your remaining vision to increase independence and quality of life.

What are causes of low vision?

  • Eye diseases such as: glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa
  • Heredity

How does low vision affect eyesight?

Low vision is partial vision loss which varies from person to person. Depending on the severity and type of vision impairment, the patient may have some useful vision. Typically the impairment includes a significant reduction in visual acuity to worse than 20/70, hazy, blurred vision, blind spots or significant visual field loss and tunnel vision. Sometimes the extent of vision loss is considered to be legal blindness (20/200 or less visual acuity in the better eye) or almost total blindness.

How does low vision affect daily life?

With significant vision loss it can become challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people.

When low vision is diagnosed it can come as a shock. Initially, it is an adjustment to learn how to function with impaired vision but the good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist. Because low vision often results in one’s inability to work, function independently, drive and resume normal life, many patients feel isolated and depressed.

Visual Rehabilitation and Visual Aids

Low vision means that a minimal amount of sight remains intact. There are millions of people who suffer from the condition and manage to function with the remaining vision available to them through the use of visual rehabilitation or visual aids.

What are visual aids?

These are devices that help people with low vision function by maximizing remaining eyesight. This often involves the use of magnifiers (handheld, mounted or stand-alone), telescopes and other tools to enlarge the images of objects to make them more visible. Some visual aids reduce glare and enhance contrast which makes it easier to see. Other low vision aids act as guides to help the person focus on non-visual cues, such as sound or feel. Finding the right visual aid is a matter of consulting with a professional and experimenting with what works for you and your daily needs.

How to make life with low vision easier

  1. Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your home. This may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best for you.
  1. Use a magnifier. There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle mounted magnifiers are also an option.
  1. Your optometrist or low vision specialist can recommend specialized lens tints for certain conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or cataracts, which enhance vision or reduce light sensitivity.
  1. Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings or mp3s.
  1. Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
  1. Adding a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable them to remain independent in their home.
  1. Find out what other technology is available to help make your life simpler.

If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. Be sure to consult with your eye doctor about the best course of action to take to simplify life with low vision.

Protecting our Patients from Coronavirus Disease Outbreak

Making sure our patients and staff are safe is our top priority. While the risk of getting the COVID-19 in the US is currently low, we know many patients are concerned about the spread of Coronavirus.

Our Promise to Our Patients:

We understand the obvious concern that coronavirus has brought to the area. We want to make you aware of the steps we are taking to protect our patients and team members in this time of uncertainty.

We request the following of patients:

  1. If you have traveled in the last 14 days to a country other than the U.S. where coronavirus has been diagnosed, or to any area in this country that has had a number of cases of concern (eg, Seattle, DC-NY metro area, parts of CA, etc…) please call the office to reschedule your appointment for next month or beyond.
  2. If you have any symptoms that mimic that of the coronavirus, which includes a fever or respiratory symptoms, including a cough, please call and reschedule your appointment at least 14 days from now.
  3. If you suspect that you have had direct contact with people who have been around any of the people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, please call us to reschedule your visit beyond 14 days from now.
  4. Remember to follow basic hygiene guidelines to avoid the spread of germs, which includes washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

Our staff will also follow these guidelines and will not be present at work if they exhibit any of the above-mentioned symptoms:

  1. Any eye doctor or team member who is sick is staying home
  2. We sanitize every piece of equipment after each use and again at the end of the day (as part of our precautions we always adhere to).
  3. We will sanitize all patient contact surfaces between every patient.
  4. Our team washes their hands often throughout the day
  5. If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.
  1. Please call us with any questions or concerns, and if you feel it best for you or your family member to reschedule your appointment, feel free to do so.
  2. We do expect this to be an ongoing situation in our area for an extended period of time, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this time. We will continue to give recommendations based on the evidence we have on safe delivery of eye care in a time of uncertainty.

For the most up-to-date information on treatments, FAQs, news and more, please visit the following official health organizations:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov

World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int

Thank you for helping us to protect all of our patients.

Drs. Jacobs, Steckenrider and Staff