Visual Impairment (Low Vision) - Treatment & Support
If glasses or contact lenses alone will not help your vision, then this is known as Low Vision and is treated by trying to improve your eyesight another way to make the most of your remaining vision.
What NHS support is available for low vision?
If you visit your optometrist (optician) and a problem is detected, you'll be referred to the hospital to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Your GP will be kept informed and will give you extra support and advice.
If your vision can't be improved by medical or surgical treatment, you may be referred to a low-vision clinic. At the clinic, you may be advised about lighting and low-vision aids. For example, a check may be done to work out if you need help for doing a crossword, for reading a book, magazine or the headlines in a newspaper.
An assessment can check if you are eligible to be certified as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind). Being told you can't see (and that glasses or surgery can't improve your vision) can be a shock. However, support is available from your clinic, GP, organisations and charities such as the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). With the help of assistive technology including gadgets and devices, many people who are either sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind) can continue to live full lives.
What is a low-vision aid?
- An optical low-vision aid can be used to make objects bigger.
Magnifiers can be used to make an object or writing bigger and this may also have a light to make something easier to see. These can be hand-held magnifiers or flat magnifiers that rest on what you are looking at.
Aids for viewing distant objects include binoculars and monoculars (a viewer for one eye instead of two).
- A non-optical low-vision aid can be used to help.
An object can be easier to see by shining a light directly onto it to make it brighter, so an aid could include a lamp.
There are many products with large buttons, numbers or letters, such as large button telephones, TV remote controls and bold-print or large-print books.
Another aid could indicate liquid levels, which can beep to stop you burning yourself when using hot water, such as when making a cup of tea or coffee.
Devices to read out information are also useful, which can include talking books, adapted gadgets such as microwaves and computer software to read information on a computer screen.
These and other gadgets may be available locally or through organisations such as the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).
- Making objects bolder can help.
Objects stand out more boldly when there is a high level of contrast, such as a black cup or plate on a white tablecloth.
Some people who are carers are paid, but anybody who helps someone with necessary care and support needs, even without pay for their services, is also a carer.
Carers may be able to offer some support for someone with low vision, either inside or outside your home. Where the carer is a family member, neighbour or friend, they may want to have help and support themselves from a Carers’ Support Service.
For more information about help and support services, including carers, please click on the web link below to take you to the web site page:
Visual Impairment (Low Vision)
Self Care and Support