Low Vision Clinic

At the Beaumont Eye Institute Low Vision Clinic our Board Certified doctors specialize in evaluation and testing, visual aids, and onsite occupational therapy as part of our rehabilitative program to assist patients with permanent visual impairments. Our program doesn't require you to be legally blind and provides a thorough eye exam with near point assessment for reading and close work. At Beaumont we offer trial systems before prescribing programs and we will conduct an evaluation in your home to tailor a program that's comfortable for you. The Beaumont Eye Institute Low Vision Clinic also offers a driver training program specifically designed for low vision drivers so you can continue with your day to day activities.

Low vision is a condition that involves a decreased ability to see (particularly central vision) that is unresolved or uncorrected with traditional eyeglasses, contact lens, intraocular lens implants, or corrective surgery. However, in some cases, persons with low vision may be aided with special visual devices.

Causes of Low Vision

There are a variety of different causes of low vision, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • macular degeneration (the most common cause of low vision; involves damage to a person's central vision making it difficult to read, drive, or perform other daily activities that require fine, central vision)
  • Congenital defects (present at birth)
  • Injury
  • Disease (including diabetes)
  • Other eye diseases (i.e., glaucoma, cataracts)

Different Types of Low Vision

Although, in most cases, persons with low vision have disabled central vision (also called reading vision), there are other types of low vision which may include the following:

  • Disabled or partial peripheral vision
  • Disabled or partial color vision
  • Disabled or partial ability to adjust to different light settings
  • Disabled or partial ability to adjust to different contrasts

Low Vision Devices

Because low vision cannot be improved by more traditional methods (i.e., the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses, etc.) persons with low vision often rely on the use of a number of different instruments, called low vision devices, and tailored equipment for improved vision. Low vision devices, categorized as either optical or non-optical, help to improve visual ability for millions of people everyday.

Optical Low Vision Devices

Simply stated, optical low vision devices involve the use of one of many types of lenses to improve vision. For example:

  • Magnifying devices (i.e., magnifying eyeglasses, hand magnifiers, magnifying lamps, telescopic viewing devices, etc.)
  • Closed circuit television, or CCTV (involves enlarged images, exaggerated contrasts, and adjustable magnification)

Non-Optical Low Vision Devices

Non-optical low vision devices help bring images closer to the eyes. This may include the use of any, or all, of the following:

  • Larger print items (i.e., magazines, newspapers, books, calendars, address books, cookbooks, dictionaries, games, playing cards, sheet music, street signs, etc.)
  • Larger, illuminated watches and clocks
  • Writing guides
  • Instruments that provide voice instruction (i.e., computers)
  • Instruments that provide voice information (i.e., clocks, timers, calculators, scales, key chains, etc.)