What Is Low Vision and What Can You Do About It?

2020-02-13 | By Orcam Staff

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What Is Low Vision and What Can You Do About It? - OrCam

Many eye conditions are also described as vision conditions. Sometimes, an eye condition can have a symptom that results in affecting the ability to see. In some cases, low vision can be a result of aging. But what is low vision? the answer really depends on the type of low vision you are referring to and what causes it.

What is Low Vision?

A blurry picture helps to describe what is low vision and how it affects people's lives

Low vision is basically another way to say visual impairment. They are both terminologies used to describe a condition where there is a decrease in the ability to see naturally. Meaning, experiencing difficulties or inabilities to read, recognize people, colors, and objects. Back to the original question, what is low vision? In short, it’s an eye condition that can’t be corrected by usual means. Regular eyeglasses, for example, is a usual need. Unusual needs are medical treatment or medication.


Some people are born with low vision. Others may have developed low vision with age or due to specific circumstances such as accidents. There are those who have an eye disease that has caused their vision to deteriorate. The most common eye diseases are age-related macular degeneration(AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and Corneal clouding.

Effects and Changes in People’s Lifestyle

Woman Standing Beside Pineapple Fruits in a store

“What is low vision?” is not the only question you need to ask if you, a family member or a friend is experiencing it. The second question is, “How will this affect their lives?” The answer depends on the lifestyle they are used to, and the level of low vision they currently have. Simply ask yourself, “How will my life change if I was less capable of seeing with my eyes?” Then ask the same question about the person who has low vision.


People who have jobs will be affected by their condition if their job requires reading text or recognizing people’s faces, objects, items, money notes or colors. If they have been driving or walking from place to place independently, they might now be more limited due to their new condition. Recognition of items and objects at home will change as well. Choosing the right food from the fridge and operating electronic devices may be affected. Even picking out what to wear from the closet will need to have an alternative method if they can no longer properly identify colors or shapes.

Helping People Adapt to A Life With Low Vision

The question of “What is low vision?” was followed by an analysis of the potential effects it may have.  Having covered those two aspects, it’s time to address available solutions. One of the most important things to do, is to adapt the living space accordingly. This can vary in the level of adaptation that is defined by the level of ability to identify objects around the house. From now on, buttons and handles that are hard to differentiate with low vision must be labeled with a tactile label that the person with low vision can recognize with only their hands.


The same may apply to bottles, boxes, cans, and anything else containing a substance that needs to be differentiated. The same adaptation needs to be done for the workplace, and even the way people walk to stores and anywhere else they go to. For example, developing a way to remember which street to turn on, which door to open, etc. These are obviously generic examples, but you can use them to think about the right solutions for yourself, your family member or friend with low vision.

Technology Can be Very Helpful

A man pointing his finger at a menu in a restaurant for his device to read it out loud for him

Assistive technology for people who are visually impaired can help them live a better life with low vision. The most advanced device for people with low vision is OrCam MyEye 2. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, it provides life-changing features for people who have low vision. The device is small, lightweight, and easy to use. It’s basically the size of a finger. It’s portable and does not require an internet connection, making it available for use anywhere.


It can read text from books, magazines, printed letters, menus, and even street signs. In addition, it will read from any digital surface such as smartphones, computers, and laptops. Using intuitive hand gestures, the device can be easily operated by people of all ages. Additional features include the recognition of barcodes of shelf-products. The text on any product’s packaging can be read using the text reading feature. It also recognizes faces, colors, money notes and more. OrCam users have regained their independence and improved their quality of life.