What is Low Vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, injections, or surgery, that interferes with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities, like reading, writing, driving, or watching television. It’s estimated about 135 million people around the world have low vision.


What Causes Low Vision?

Low vision can have various causes—from eye diseases to eye injuries. The leading causes are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, stroke, and retinitis pigmentosa.


“How is an exam to prescribe special glasses different?

The design of special low vision glasses consists of four steps:

  • Determine the amount of residual vision the patient has.
  • Determine the amount of vision needed to do the task (eg: reading, seeing signs down the road)
  • Determine the special low vision glasses prescription needed that allows the person to do the task
  • Train the patient to use the special low vision glasses glasses

The office visit to prescribe special low vision glasses is not like other eye exams

  • The office visit can take up to an hour to prescribe the special glasses you will need
  • We use special eye charts not used by regular eye doctors
  • We ask that you bring in samples of things you like to read (eg: newspaper, books, magazines, bills


How is a Low Vision Doctor Different from a Regular Eye Doctor?

Low Vision doctors have been trained in the physics, optics and use of high powered lenses and lens systems. They understand the principles of magnification, field of view, depth and of focus. They also have a working knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the multitude of low vision glasses, magnifiers, electronic and non-optical devices available. A low vision eye doctor understands how to work with patients and families who can be extremely upset, fearful, and even depressed. It’s a doctor who has the patience and time to explain the eye and vision condition and what the future may hold for patients who may be confused, misinformed and/or have an unrealistic view of their future. A low vision eye doctor has compassion and empathy for what the patient and family is going through as well as the knowledge, resources and experience to help them adjust to the difficult situation. Low Vision doctors know how to analyze a task according to the amount of vision, lighting, working distance and field of view needed for completion. They are expert as designing low vision glasses to meet the needs of the patient.


Can nutrition and vitamins help?

While there is no “cure” for low vision, proper nutrition may help. There are specific recommended vitamins and supplements. We will discuss your specific nutritional needs during your appointment.


How do I know if low vision glasses will work?

This is simple—you will have a smile on your face when you see the amazing improvement in your vision during your examination. You will have an opportunity to look through the actual special low vision glasses. This way both you and Dr. Rummel will know they work BEFORE they’re ordered.


How do special low vision glasses compare to telescope implants?

Unlike telescope implants, special low vision glasses are completely safe and do not require dangerous eye surgery.


What if my vision changes?

Changes in vision can usually be improved by redesigning the optics of the special glasses. Fortunately changes are rarely needed.


How much will this cost?

Like hearing aids, low vision glasses are an out of pocket expense.
The cost of custom designed special low vision glasses varies depending on the complexity of your eye problem and what you need to see better.

Some people need more than one pair (for example: one for driving and one for reading).

You control what you spend by only purchasing the special low vision glasses you need or want. We want you to be happy with your special glasses, so you’ll have the opportunity to actually look through them, and you’ll know how much better they make you see.