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How to make the most of remaining sight

Low vision is sight loss or reduced vision that cannot be corrected or improved by glasses, medicine or surgery.

Visual impairments can make everyday tasks difficult, such as reading or writing, navigating your environment or identifying faces. There are many causes of low vision. Some conditions can result in seeing spots or loss of central vision, while others may affect depth perception or peripheral vision (visual field or side vision).

Regular eye examinations are the best way to detect eye conditions as soon as possible. If there is a family history of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, or medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is recommended that you have more frequent eye examinations.

Low vision aids and devices can greatly benefit those with visual impairments. There are a large range of optical aids such as magnifiers and filters, non-optical aids such as audio books, and adaptive technology available for low vision to help with routine daily tasks.

Your optometrist can assess your need for glasses and/or low vision aids, help you to better understand your vision impairment, and provide advice on how to make the most of your remaining sight. This can also include advice on other factors that can impact your vision such lighting, sunglasses and daily living tasks.

Barry & Sargent Optometrists can offer a wide range of specialty spectacles and vision aids to enable enjoyment of daily activities and hobbies. We have access to a large range of magnifiers including hand-held, illuminated, stand magnifiers and digital magnifiers. Optical aids and devices should be prescribed by a professional, allowing you to trial it first and include training on using the device.

Your optometrist can provide referrals to Blind & Low Vision NZ (Blind Foundation) and to ophthalmologists (eye specialists). There are many other low-vision support groups in New Zealand to provide practical and emotional support for those with low vision.

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