How to take advantage of resources for people with low vision.
Low vision is a term that describes a condition where there is significant visual impairment. Glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medication cannot correct low vision. It can include significant loss of visual field, tunnel vision, the loss of best-corrected visual acuity, and legal blindness. There are a number of conditions or diseases that cause low vision including:
- Cataracts that can cause hazy or blurry vision
- Macular degeneration that can cause central vision to be blurry or partially obscured
- Diabetic retinopathy which causes blurriness, visual distortions, and blind spots
- Glaucoma which can lead to poor peripheral vision
- Retinitis pigmentosa which diminishes the ability to see in the dark as well as impacting peripheral vision
- Eye injuries and hereditary conditions can also lead to low vision
Loss of vision can be traumatic, frightening, and overwhelming, not only for the individual but for their family as well. Vision loss in adults can lead to depression, loss of productivity, inability to work and provide for their family, loss of independence, and health issues that stem from diminished quality of life and decreased mobility. In children, loss of vision can lead to learning problems, failing to meet milestones, difficulty developing social skills, and injury from the inability to see where they’re going.
At Eyes of NM, we are working hard to make sure our low vision patients have the resources they need to live happy, healthy, productive, normal lives, even with vision loss. You’ll find some of these resources here (insert link).
Driving Solutions for the Visually Impaired
Did you know you can still drive while visually impaired if you have the right tools? The law in New Mexico allows drivers who are visually impaired to use a bioptic telescope when they’re behind the wheel. There are some restrictions, however.
In New Mexico, your vision must be better than 20/40 in at least one eye to take the driving test for a non-restricted license. Unlike in Arizona, you are not allowed to take the driving test with the bioptic telescope. It takes a lot of training and practice to learn to drive while using one, but it can help you be more independent and help you get back on the road again.
We can fit you with bioptic telescopes and fit them to a pair of glasses. We’ll get you set up with a custom prescription and training on use, information on when you can and cannot use them while driving, and how to get into and out of the telescope quickly while driving.
Video Magnification Options
The bioptic telescope isn’t the only tool available for people with low vision. There are several options available to assist with low vision and make life easier for the visually impaired. Some of the best assistive technology available includes:
- OrCam: this consists of a smart camera mounted on eyeglass frames that can recognize text, products, and even faces. The device is intuitive and speaks through an earpiece to identify what you’re looking at. You’ll be able to read books and newspapers, use computers and smartphones, read labels and menus, and identify signage wherever you go. On top of that, it can recognize the faces of people that come into view. All you have to do is enter them into the database (you can store up to 100 individual faces) and there’s no more guessing who’s in front of you.
Just because you’re visually impaired does not mean your life should be any less vibrant and full. Call Eyes of NM today and talk to one of our staff members to find out more about the low vision resources we offer that can help you navigate through daily life easier and more effectively.