vision loss TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS

Most studies indicate that the majority of people in the United States with vision loss are adults who are not totally blind. Instead they have what is referred to as Low Vision. Like the term “legal blindness,” “visual impairment” is not a functional definition that tells us very much about what a person can and cannot see.  It is a classification system, rather than a definition

 

LOW VISION

A condition caused by eye disease in which visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer in the better eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses/contact lenses. Low vision is uncorrectable vision loss that interferes with daily activities. It is better defined in terms of function, rather than [numerical] test results. In other words, low vision is “not enough vision to do whatever it is you need to do,” which can vary from person to person.

LEGAL BLINDNESS

A definition developed by the US government to determine eligibility for vocational training, rehabilitation, schooling, disability benefits, low vision devices, and tax exemption programs. It’s not a functional low vision definition and doesn’t tell us very much at all about what a person can and cannot see.

What is Legal Blindness? A visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better-seeing eye with best conventional correction OR a visual field (the total area an individual can see without moving the eyes from side to side) of 20 degrees or less (also called tunnel vision) in the better-seeing eye

TOTAL BLINDNESS 

The complete lack of light perception and form perception, and is recorded as “NLP,” an abbreviation for “no light perception.”Few people today are totally without sight. In fact, 85% of all individuals with eye disorders have some remaining sight; approximately 15% are totally blind

 Types of Eye Doctors 

OPHTHALMOLOGY

 What is ophthalmology? Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that specializes in the anatomy, function and disease of the eye.

 What is an ophthalmologist? 

An ophthalmologist is a medical or osteopathic physician who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and the prevention of eye diseases.  An ophthalmologist diagnosis and treats refractive, medical and surgical problems related to eye diseases and disorders.

An ophthalmologist will have the initials M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) after his or her name.

OPTOMETRY

What is Optometry Optometry is a vision care specialty that is concerned with the health of the eye, the visual system and related structures.

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is a healthcare professional who specializes in function and disorder of the eye, detection of eye disease and some types of eye disease management.  He or she conducts eye examinations, prescribes corrective lenses and diagnosis and treats eye diseases and disorders.

An Optometrist will have the initials O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) following his or her name.

LOW VISION SPECIALIST

Many optometrists and some ophthalmologists  have additional credentials or specialization in Low Vision testing, diagnosis and treatment and are trained to conduct the Low Vision Eye Examination and to prescribe special Low Vision Optical Devices.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing significant vision loss, a Low Vision Specialist can help determine whether special optical and/or non-optical devices, lighting or other specialized Vision Rehabilitation Services can be of help in maximizing one’s remaining vision, independence and quality of life.