Low Vision Aids for People with Glaucoma
An estimated 265 million people worldwide have low vision. Of these, nearly 80 million people have glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by high intraocular pressure. This high pressure damages the fragile optic nerve, resulting in permanent damage to your peripheral visual field, known as ‘tunnel vision.’ Left untreated, high intraocular pressure can cause extensive damage to the optic nerve, resulting in partial or total blindness.
It’s important to know that no matter how much or how little vision you have, several low vision aids and devices can help maximize your remaining vision and enhance your quality of life.
How Glaucoma Affects Your Vision
Glaucoma can affect vision in many ways.
In addition to damaging peripheral (side) vision, it decreases the ability to see contrasting colors, makes one more sensitive to light and reduces the ability to adapt to different lighting conditions — from dark to light or light to dark.
Peripheral Vision Loss or Tunnel Vision
By damaging the optic nerve, glaucoma prevents the retina’s signals from reaching the brain. Unlike many eye conditions that affect both eyes, glaucoma can cause the loss of peripheral vision in only one eye.
People who lose vision due to glaucoma often experience tunnel vision. They describe it as seeing the world through a straw—meaning, they may not be able to see what is directly above, below or around them. Although people with glaucoma lose the ability to see the entire picture, they can often still see detect small details using their central vision.
Low Vision Aids for Glaucoma
Low vision aids and devices help glaucoma patients adjust and learn new ways to maintain an active lifestyle.
Low-Tech Low Vision Aids for People with Glaucoma
While not all low vision aids are electronic or highly technical, they can still greatly improve your quality of life. Low-tech vision aids for vision loss due to glaucoma include:
- Filters/colored lenses and glasses
- Sectoral prisms
- Reverse telescopes
- High minus lenses/full field microscopes
- Hand-held telescopes
- Spectacle-mounted telescopes
- Raised paint, [colorful] stickers, tactile cues and bright permanent markers
- Large number phones, remotes and calculators
- Large print and bold print materials
- Typoscopes, check-writing templates, signature guides or line guides
- Strategically placed lighting.
High-Tech Low Vision Aids for People with Glaucoma
Rapid technological advances have made it possible for those suffering from vision loss to continue to do the things they’ve always enjoyed.
High-tech low vision aids include:
- Computer software
- Cell phone, tablet and camera apps
- Text-to-speech software
- OCR software
- Digital talking book readers
Contact The Low Vision Center at Family Optical to discover how to maximize your remaining vision. Our low vision eye doctors will provide solutions to help you participate in activities that you most enjoy.
The Low Vision Center at Family Optical serves patients from Winnipeg, Grande Pointe, Lorette, and Oak Bluff , all throughout Manitoba.