• Norville Opticians

When spectacles aren’t enough. Magnifiers and other low vision aids

There are unfortunately cases where due to something wrong with the eye, such as macular degeneration, where we are unable to provide adequate vision with standard spectacles alone but that doesn’t mean that we can’t help.

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of sight loss in this country and in the majority of cases it is untreatable. It is associated with age and risk factors include family history, poor diet and smoking. Early detection is important in case it is wet macular degeneration which can be treated; regular eye examinations and OCT scans can assist with this. Even if you were to have dry macular degeneration it is better, I think, to know and understand the condition early on so that you have the opportunity of making lifestyle changes that may slow the progress of the disease and also so that you have more time to adapt and come to terms with the condition.

What I often say to people is that you shouldn’t give up on doing the things that you have done for years. With the right advice and aids you may continue to do and enjoy the hobbies and activities that you have always done.

A number of years back I saw a lady with macular degeneration who was very fond of embroidery and was finding it too difficult with just her glasses and had tried some basic magnifiers and found them inadequate. I found for her a jointed magnifier on a stand that she could attach to the edge of a table. It had three different levels of magnification that she could use all with a wide aperture lens and a good light attached. This magnifier allowed her to continue doing what she had always done for a further five years.

A little while ago I saw a lady who had lost the vision on one side in both eyes. This was causing her problems eating as she was only seeing half a plate and thinking that she had finished when she was only half way through. With some experimenting we found that we could shift her vision sideways using prisms stuck onto the lens and she can now see her whole meal.

Recently I saw a lady with severe sight loss due to macular degeneration that she had had for years and still lived on her own. She couldn’t see a person standing and waving in front of her 4m away. We experimented with a new E Scoop lens and she could now see this person. To the lady in question this was a significant improvement and she wanted anything that could help.

We have access to products that can help with all manner of tasks and eye conditions and we have the knowledge and expertise to be able to advise you appropriately. If you have any low vision problems or know of anyone who might benefit from expert advice and specialised lenses or magnifiers then please call into one of our practices or contact me dread@norville-opticians.co.uk.

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