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Low Vision Banner: Various images of people using low vision devices.
 Promoting independence through vision  rehabilitation.


Low Vision Glossary

Adaptive and Assistive Devices - Prescription and nonprescription devices that help people with low vision enhance their remaining vision. Some examples include magnifiers and telescopes, talking devices, and computer software.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) - An eye disease that results in a loss of central, "straight-ahead" vision. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans. It makes reading, seeing faces, and performing other daily living tasks difficult.

Cataract - A clouding of the lens. People with a cataract see through a haze. In a usually safe and successful surgery, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a plastic lens.

Diabetes - A chronic disease related to high blood sugar that may lead to vision loss (diabetic retinopathy).

Dominant Optic Nerve Atrophy - Hereditary damage to the optic nerve, resulting in a loss of vision.

Eye Care Professional - An optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma - An eye disease that damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. Glaucoma affects peripheral, or side, vision.

Low Vision - A visual impairment, not corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, which interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities.

Low Vision Therapist - A vision rehabilitation professional who trains people with low vision to use optical and nonoptical devices and adaptive techniques to make the most of their remaining vision.

Ophthalmologist - A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all diseases and disorders of the eye and prescribes glasses and contact lenses.

Occupational Therapist - A rehabilitation professional who works with persons with disabilities, including low vision, to complete the everyday activities that they need for independence and quality of life.

Optometrist - A primary eye care provider who prescribes glasses and contact lenses, and diagnoses and treats certain conditions and diseases of the eye.

Orientation and Mobility Specialist - A vision rehabilitation professional who trains people with low vision to move about safely in the home and travel by themselves.

Specialist in Low Vision - An ophthalmologist or optometrist who specializes in the evaluation of low vision. This professional prescribes magnifying devices.

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health