Can low vision be treated?

Some sight disorders, like diabetic retinopathy, can be treated to restore or maintain vision. When this is not possible, low vision is permanent. However, many people with low vision find visual aids helpful. Popular low vision aids include:

  • Telescopic glasses.
  • Lenses that filter light.
  • Magnifying glasses.
  • Hand magnifiers.
  • Closed-circuit television.
  • Reading prisms.

Some patients with retinitis pigmentosa who have no useful vision may be eligible for the Argus® II retinal prosthesis. This device partially restores vision to patients who have lost their sight. In some patients the restored vision allows for them to independently navigate through doorways, sidewalks, sort light and dark colored laundry, or even read large letters.

Non-optical aids designed for people with low vision are also very helpful. Some popular non-optical devices include:

  • Text reading software.
  • Check guides.
  • High contrast clocks and watches.
  • Talking watches and clocks.
  • Large print publications.
  • Clocks, phones and watches with enlarged numbers.

Visual aids improve both sight and the quality of life for many people. Talk to your doctor about where to purchase visual aids.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/15/2020.

References

  • EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Low Vision? Accessed 10/19/2020.
  • American Foundation for the Blind. Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight. What is Low Vision? Accessed 10/19/2020.
  • Sterns GK, Faye EE. Chapter 24. Low Vision. In: Riordan-Eva P, Cunningham ET, Jr. eds. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 18e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.

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