February: Low Vision Awareness Month

News // Feb 01 2018

The National Eye Institute (NEI) recognizes the month of February to raise awareness about vision rehabilitation among people with low vision and their family, friends, and caregivers. According to the NEI, approximately 2.9 million Americans are considered to have low vision. This number is expected to increase 72% by the year 2030.

Sanbrita Mondal, OD, Low Vision Clinic director, demonstrates a magnifier in the Low Vision Clinic.

WHAT IS low vision?

Low vision is characterized by having vision that is 20/70 or worse. Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery.

HOW does low vision OCCUR?

Low vision is usually caused by eye disease or health conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma, eye injuries and birth defects.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF low vision?

The NEI lists the following symptoms for low vision:

  • Difficulty recognizing the faces of family and friends
  • Difficulty reading, cooking, sewing, or fixing things around the house
  • Difficulty selecting and matching the color of clothes
  • Difficulty seeing clearly with the lights on or feeling as though the lights are dimmer than normal
  • Difficulty reading traffic signs or store names

what SHOULD I DO if i suspect THAT i may have low vision?

The best way to screen for any eye disease or issue is to visit your eye care professional regularly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Of course, if you notice changes to your eyes or eyesight, you should schedule an exam with an eye care professional right away.

how can the uw health low vision clinic help?

If your eye care professional refers you to the Low Vision Clinic at UW Health – University Station Clinic, you can expect a comprehensive low vision evaluation with Sanbrita Mondal, OD. Dr. Mondal will perform a low vision refraction and will then provide services and tools that will introduce skills to improve the quality of everyday life and restore independence. These tools might include magnifiers, telescopes, electronic devices, lighting and contrast.

additional resources

SOURCE: National Eye Institute, American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Sanbrita Mondal

OD, Low Vision Clinic Director