Problems & Conditions

Problems & Conditions

What is Low Vision?

Low vision refers 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 it is associated primarily with adults over the age of 60. It is estimated that between 3.5 million to five million people in the U.S. suffer from low vision.

The Vision Council released a report about low vision highlighting research that shows that only approximately 20 percent of adults with severe vision impairment use devices that could help maintain activities of daily living. You can access the report, Vision Loss in America: Aging and Low Vision, here.

Low Vision Devices

Patients experiencing low vision can maximize their remaining vision and develop strategies to lead a more independent lifestyle by using low vision aids. Low vision devices enhance contrast, control glare, and magnify objects.

Most people use multiple low vision aids – it is not uncommon for someone to have five or more – because each is designed to serve a very specific purpose.

Low vision aids fall into the following categories: near-vision magnification, intermediate magnification, distance-vision magnification, and optical filters.  



Near-vision magnification

Used for improving sight of objects close by, within 20 inches, such as newsprint and crossword puzzles.

Intermediate magnification

Used for improving vision involving tasks performed at arm’s length, between 20 and 40 inches, such as working on crafts or playing board games.

Distance-vision magnification

Used for improving sight beyond six feet, such as watching a movie or riding a bicycle.


To learn more about low vision, or to locate a low vision specialist near you, visit, designed specifically for those suffering from low vision as well as for their caretakers.

If you would like to have someone from The Vision Council contact you about low vision and potential solutions, please call our hotline at 1-877-457-0536 or click this link to fill out our contact form.