Low Vision Exams by Your Low Vision Eye Doctor

middle aged couple smiling

A Low Vision exam begins with a conversation between the eye doctor and the patient. The eye doctor will consider ways of improving your quality of life, taking into accounts your unique needs.

A Low Vision exam is different from a standard eye test. Rather than checking for visual clarity, an IALVS doctor will check your level of vision to determine how Low Vision is affecting your daily life. The doctor will determine if new, regular glasses can improve your condition, while also discussing your wish list and considering the best solution to help you regain as much day-to-day functioning as possible.

The low vision exam takes about 1 hour.

We encourage you to discuss your specific vision goals with your eye doctor, such as reading, writing, recognizing faces, watching TV, or driving. The doctor will determine which specific areas of your vision (central or peripheral) may be lacking. Based on the exam, we may recommend prescription low vision glasses or a number of low vision aids or devices to help you do what YOU want to do.

Preventative Eye Exams: Early Detection Is Essential

The greater the risk of developing a sight-threatening eye condition, the more important it is to have an annual eye exam. Age is the biggest risk factor for Low Vision. Other risks include diabetes, smoking, and sunlight exposure.

Early detection and appropriate intervention and care may be able to slow down or even halt vision loss. If you notice ANY of the following symptoms, schedule an eye exam immediately.

  • Blind spots in your field of view
  • Distortion in images
  • Sudden deterioration or loss of vision

The Amsler Grid

Your vision might change slowly, so you may not be aware of subtle changes to your vision. Your doctor might ask you to use a special tool called an Amsler Grid to check your vision at home.

The Amsler Grid, see below, is a simple square containing a grid pattern and a black dot in the middle.
When used correctly it can show the early signs of changes in your vision.

How do I use an Amsler Grid?

To use the Amsler grid, follow these steps:

  1. Wear any glasses you normally use to read
  2. Look at the grid from 12 to 15 inches away and in good light.
  3. Cover your left eye with your left hand.
  4. Look directly at the center dot with your uncovered eye and always keep your eye looking at the dot.
  5. Do not move your eye, while looking directly at the center dot, notice in your side vision if all grid lines look straight or if any lines or areas look blurry, wavy, dark or blank.
  6. Now follow the same steps by covering your right eye with your right hand.

What should I do, if I notice changes on the Amsler grid?

If you notice any areas of the grid that appear darker, wavy, blank or blurry, contact a low vision eye doctor right away.

They will provide a comprehensive low vision eye exam. Doing this simple at-home eye test can help save your vision.

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