Low vision is a condition where decrease in visual acuity or visual field constricted to the point where glasses, contact lens, medical or surgical treatments cannot be fully corrected. Low vision is a vision problem which will interfere with an individual’s daily activities such as driving, reading, etc. The National Eye Survey 1996 estimated that there were 540,000 people with low vision and about 50,000 people who were blind in Malaysia. Prevalence of low vision was found to be 2.44% and those who were blind were 0.3%.
What causes Low Vision?
It is often caused by eye diseases or conditions such as: cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, albinism, retinopathy of prematurity, amblyopia, strabismus, uncorrected high refractive error and eye injuries.
Symptoms & Types of Low Vision
- Loss of central vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Blurred vision or hazy vision
- Night blindness
- Decrease in contrast sensitivity
- Difficulty differentiating colors
- Difficulty recognizing objects at a distance and near
Unfortunately, low vision is usually permanent. An individual who was diagnosed with low vision can undergo low vision therapy. Low vision therapy will be done by an optometrist or an occupational therapist who specializes in low vision. The purpose of low vision therapy is to help individuals continue performing their daily activities. This is achieved by providing appropriate optical devices and special training in the use of residual vision and low vision aids, which range from simple optical magnifiers to high magnification video magnifiers. Low vision devices can be optical (telescope, magnifying glasses, magnifiers, etc.), non-optical (extra illumination, typo scope, books with enlarged text, writing guides, clock with large numbers, keyboard with large letters, etc.) and electronic device (Closed-circuit television (CCTV) or portable electronic devices). There are some resources centers that can help low vision patient such as:
- Social Welfare Department (JKM)
- Ministry of Women
- Family and Community Development, Malaysia
- Special Education Division, Ministry of Education, Malaysia
- Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB)
- Society for the Blind Malaysia (SBM)
- St. Nicholas Homes Center
- Sabah Society for the Blind (SSB)
- Sarawak Society for the Blind (SKSB)
Residents within Klang Valley in areas such as Cheras, Puchong, Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya, and Kepong can visit our low vision specialist, Ms Vinodhini Naidu to have their eyes examined and get a low vision aid at Nexus Bangsar South KL branch. Residents in Seremban 2, Senawang, Sendayan and Port Dickson can visit Dr Teh Wee Min at our Seremban branch. Residents in Johor Bahru, Skudai, Kulai, Iskandar Puteri, Senai, Tebrau, Batu Pahat, Kluang, Segamat can visit Dr Ling Kiet Phang or Dr Chan Choon Teng at our Johor Bahru branch. Residents in Perai, Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth, Penang island, Alor Setar, Kulim and Sungai Petani can visit Dato’ Dr Haslina or Dr Loh Chow Chin at our Penang branch.