Low vision is a term commonly used to mean partial sight, or sight that isn't fully correctable with surgery, medications, contact lenses, or glasses.
Retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, or other eye conditions or diseases can cause low vision. Children can also be born with conditions such as albinism or optic nerve damage/underdevelopment that can result in low vision.
Low vision may range from moderate impairment to near-total blindness. A child with low vision may benefit from a variety of available low vision devices.
Low vision optical devices are task-specific; your child’s eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may prescribe several different low vision optical devices for various tasks: One or two devices for reading, another for watching television and seeing faces, another for seeing the computer screen, and yet another for distance viewing.
The two most common low vision devices are;
Magnifiers for seeing objects close at hand
A specialized telescope for seeing objects far away
Non-optical “adaptive” devices
Non-optical devices are devices or aids that may be used to help a child use his or her vision more efficiently.
Nonoptical devices include:
Sunglasses, hats or visors with brims
Adaptive toys and accessible games including;
Braille numbers and alphabet magnets
Raised line and Braille art and paint colouring books
Large felt-tip pens
Tactile blocks, balls, games and puzzles
Touch and Feel boards, books and routine sets
Large-print and Braille books
Large-numbered clocks, telephones and watches
Electronic "talking" aids – including computers, books and clocks
Audio descriptive movies, plays and guided tours
Early intervention with low vision devices can enhance the visual abilities of children with low vision by reducing visual deprivation at an early age. Low vision devices will provide them with enriched and more accurate visual information, which in turn will improve their ability to learn and their chances of receiving education in mainstream schools with their sighted peers. In addition, learning to use low vision devices at an early age helps children to become confident with their use; it also allows them to feel less socially awkward as they grow up and continue to use these devices.
Consult with professionals who are specialists in blindness or low vision about your child's low vision aid needs. University-affiliated hospitals, professional organisations and national organisations in the field of visual impairment are good sources of referrals and other information.
Become Informed About Your Child's Eye Condition
Learn as much as you can about your child's eye condition. Some excellent sources of information include: early intervention teachers and therapists, medical doctors, eye care and low vision specialists, libraries, the Internet, national organisations serving people with visual impairments and other families with a child who is visually impaired. When talking with your child's doctor, be sure to ask any and all questions you have and request explanations of any answers that are not clear to you.
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