Ironically, this article is written for those whose vision may be too poor to read it. Common causes of low vision include macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

While recent scientific advancements show great promise for more effective treatments in the future, patients suffering from vision loss often leave their ophthalmologist’s office with the impression that nothing more can be done.

If you, or someone you know, suffers from partial vision loss, help is available now, through the use of present-day visual aids and technology. These can be prescribed through a low-vision evaluation.

Low-vision specialists are specially trained doctors of optometry who can evaluate the nature and degree of vision loss to determine those devices best suited to maximize remaining vision. This can enable the individual to resume activities that might have become too difficult or even impossible, such as reading, writing, hobbies and computer use.

Double vision, often associated with stroke or other neurological problems, might be alleviated with the use of prism glasses. Those dealing with disabling glare, a frequent issue with macular degeneration and glaucoma, might achieve relief with special filters designed to enhance contrast, without the dimming effect of traditional sunglasses.

Low-vision evaluations are covered by medical insurance, but the devices are not. However, devices typically cost less than a pair of bifocals. Assistance for devices might also be available through the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.

Good visual function is not only important for maintaining our independence, a high quality of life, and keeping us connected socially, but it also plays a vital role in keeping the brain stimulated.

Researchers have found that visual stimulation helps to slow the effects of aging on the brain and the development of dementia.

Help for incurable partial vision loss is available now.

Carole Drabik, O.D. is a low-vision specialist practicing at Bishop Eye Center. She sees patients at both the Hilton Head and Hardeeville locations.