Maple Eye and Laser Center
The Different Causes of Low Vision and Your Treatment Options

The Different Causes of Low Vision and Your Treatment Options

low vision

Low vision is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It refers to a visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. Individuals with low vision experience a significant decrease in their visual acuity, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.


Understanding Low Vision

The symptoms of low vision can vary from person to person, but common signs include blurred vision, difficulty seeing objects at a distance, poor night vision, and loss of peripheral vision. Some individuals may also experience a loss of color perception or a decrease in contrast sensitivity. It is important to note that low vision is not the same as blindness, as individuals with low vision still have some functional vision.

There are several underlying causes that can lead to low vision. It is essential to identify the root cause in order to determine the most appropriate treatment options.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a leading cause of low vision, particularly in older adults. It occurs when the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision, deteriorates over time. The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, but it is believed to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Treatment options for macular degeneration include medications, laser therapy, and vision rehabilitation programs.


Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions characterized by damage to the optic nerve, often caused by increased pressure within the eye. It is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The most common form of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and painlessly, often without noticeable symptoms until the later stages. Treatment options for glaucoma include eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, and traditional surgery.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, leading to leakage, swelling, and the growth of abnormal blood vessels. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause severe vision loss. Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include laser treatment, medication injections, and vitrectomy surgery.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic disorder that causes the breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. It usually begins with night blindness and progresses to tunnel vision or complete blindness in severe cases. Currently, there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa, but there are treatment options available to manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. These include vitamin supplements, low vision aids, and genetic counseling.

Coping Strategies for Living with Low Vision

Living with low vision can be challenging, but there are strategies and resources available to help individuals adapt and maintain their independence. Some coping strategies for living with low vision include:

  • Use assistive devices: There are various assistive devices available, such as magnifiers, telescopes, and screen reading software, that can help individuals with low vision perform daily tasks more easily.
  • Make modifications to the environment: Simple modifications to the home or work environment, such as using brighter lighting, contrasting colors, and removing hazards, can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with low vision.
  • Seek support: Joining support groups or connecting with others who have low vision can provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of community.
  • Access rehabilitation services: Vision rehabilitation programs can help individuals with low vision learn new skills, such as reading Braille or using adaptive technology, to maintain their independence and improve their overall quality of life.

Navigating Low Vision with the Help of Maple Eye and Laser Center

Low vision is a condition that can significantly impact a person's daily life and independence. Understanding the different causes of low vision is crucial in order to determine the most appropriate treatment options. If you or someone you know is experiencing low vision, it is important to consult with an ophthalmologist to discuss the available treatment options and support services.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low vision or have been diagnosed with a visual impairment, schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist at Maple Eye and Laser Center in our White Plains or Manhattan, New York, office. Call 914-948-5157 to schedule an appointment today.