Age Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision

Age Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision in Olympia

Age related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide.  As the name states, it is a condition common in senior citizens and is a progressive disease in the part of the retina, called the macula. There are two types of this condition, dry or wet AMD. Age related macular degeneration begins dry, which is the less serious kind of AMD and if it is not treated, it can become the more severe type which is wet AMD.

There are treatment plans which can slow down or even prevent vision loss if diagnosed early enough, however vision loss from macular degeneration cannot be regained. If you are suffering from visual impairment due to AMD and it seems as though the door has been shut on your ability to perform visual tasks, there is no need to despair. Low vision opens the door to a world of possibilities which incorporates your visual abilities that have not been lost in order to be able to enjoy your vision.

American Family Vision Clinic

What to Expect at a Low Vision Eye Exam

Low vision is a field devoted to finding solutions despite a visual impairment that is creating obstacles in the way you live your day to day life. When you come to American Family Vision Clinic for a low vision eye exam, Dr. Levi Zurcher will do a special eye exam that evaluates your remaining vision, at a distance and from close up. Additionally, your field of vision will be evaluated and your contrast sensitivity will be checked, amongst other low vision tests. You will discuss together which visual tasks you are finding challenging and Dr. Zurcher will then work with you to find solutions that will enable you to accomplish what you set out to do. 

There are a variety of visual aids that can be extremely useful to help you see despite your macular degeneration diagnosis. If you have a family member or caretaker who is instrumental in helping you with your daily needs, it is highly recommended that they attend the appointment as well. It will give them the opportunity to learn more about your visual impairment so that they can understand how it impacts you functionally, enabling them to support you more effectively.

Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration

There are characteristic visual impairments caused by macular degeneration which can be greatly helped with low vision, some include:

  • Decrease in visual acuity
  • Blurry vision 
  • Blind spot in central visual field
  • Straight lines appear distorted
  • Colors appear dull
  • Decrease in contrast sensitivity 
  • Glare 

All of these visual challenges can make it very difficult for a person with macular degeneration to function and accomplish tasks like they used to, prior to developing AMD. The field of low vision offers many solutions and visual aids to allow a person with AMD to reclaim their independence.

Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration
Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration

Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration

After the low vision eye exam, Dr. Levi Zurcher will discuss various professional solutions with you catered to your individual needs and daily tasks or activities. The visual aids range from simple household products, to special glasses and electronic devices. There are so many possibilities of low vision aids that can help you increase your quality of life and some examples will be discussed here. 

There are many different types of magnifying glasses which can help central vision loss, such as handheld, standing or spectacle form and they can assist you to zoom in on what you’re trying to read or work on. Filters can improve vision for a person with macular degeneration by increasing contrast sensitivity and reducing glare. E-scoop glasses are a wonderful low vision aid as it includes many optical features that can help you reclaim your independence despite the vision loss you are experiencing. A device called a CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) has been created to enable you to scan what you’re trying to read onto a screen. The CCTV enlarges the text and can provide various features, including increasing contrast between the text and the background. 

Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration

There are companies that invented cutting edge technology, each offering their own unique visual experience which enhances your vision and some of these include OrCam, IrisVision or eSight, just to name a few. In addition to the visual aids, properly adjusting the lighting in your home under the guidance of a professional low vision optometrist can really make an impact on how you see. There are also some simple assistive tools, such as placing rubbery adhesive bumps, known as tactile dots, on different flat buttons around your home to help you find the buttons easier. Dr. Levi Zurcher will be happy to answer all of your questions and to find the best visual aids for you so that you can reclaim your independence and achieve what you set out to do, despite having a visual impairment due to macular degeneration.

What is Macular Degeneration?

In order to understand how low vision can change lives for the better after being diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is essential to understand this eye condition and to know what to look out for. To learn about the different kinds of macular degeneration and for more information, click here.

Visual Challenges Due to Macular Degeneration
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

If you are suffering from vision loss due to macular degeneration, we can help you reclaim your independence and enjoy activities you used to partake in prior to developing a visual impairment. Low vision offers many solutions and visual aids to help enhance your quality of life. To schedule a low vision eye exam, click here Book an Appointment or call (360) 491-2121.

Testimonials


  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


    June S.

  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


    Christine R.

  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

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