Low Vision

Low vision is the term used to refer to a visual impairment that is not correctable through surgery, pharmaceuticals, glasses, or contact lenses. This condition is often characterized by partial sight, such as blurred vision, blind spots, or tunnel vision, but also includes legal blindness.

Low vision can impact people of all ages, but is primarily associated with older adults. Some of the most common visual impairments that can cause low vision include the following:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD/ARMD)

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among Americans over age 60 and accounts for nearly half of all low vision cases. It occurs when the part of the eye responsible for sharp, straight-on vision – the macula – breaks down and causes a loss of central vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy

According to the National Eye Institute, more than 30% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy. It is a major cause of blindness and is directly related to high blood sugar, which damages blood vessels. That damage affects the retina and can even lead to its detachment.


Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. With glaucoma, portions of vision are lost over time, usually with no warning signs or symptoms prior to vision deterioration. For many, a decrease in peripheral vision is the first sign of glaucoma.


Over 20 million people in the US have cataracts according to Prevent Blindness America. It appears as a clouding of the lens of the eye.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

This is a group of inherited diseases affecting the retina resulting in progressive vision loss. This type of vision impairment often begins in childhood with poor night vision and progresses over time.