Low Vision Aids

Ever since Ted Watts established the practice in 1958, there have always been close links with local hospitals, and these are still maintained today.

Sara Porter, assisted by Paula Mullagan, run NHS Low Vision Clinics at:

  • New King George Hospital – IIford
  • King College Hospital – London
  • Orsett Hospital – London
  • Southend Hospital – Southend
  • Broomfield Hospital – Chelmsford

Referrals for these have to be made via your GP or if you are a patient at the hospitals, via the Eye Doctor (Ophthalmologist).

Practitioners in the Southend Community run separate schemes (only open to patients from Southend Hospital).

Private patients are seen in the Shenfield Practice via self referral.

What is LVA?

Surveys have consistently shown that most people do not know what Low Vision is.

Low Vision is often described as a visual impairment, which causes a difficulty in seeing despite the use of spectacles or contact lenses. Its presence may be noticed only when someone is unable to see well enough to do the things they used to be able to do.

Low Vision is usually considered to be eyesight, which cannot be corrected to the “normal” with spectacles or contact lenses. The usual standard of what is termed as normal is 20/20 or 6/6. Low Vision is often referred to as impaired vision, partial sight or Sight Impaired and it can often mean that there is a distortion of vision part or that parts of the vision may be missing. A Person with Low Vision is someone who has an untreatable impaired of visual function that causes a restriction to normal activity. The problem of Low Vision may be overcome by using lenses, which make objects appear to be larger than they really are. The principle of enlarging is making the image bigger than the imperfection the eye condition produces.

What is a Low Vision Assessment?

Anyone can buy a magnifier but not everyone can use one.

Kindly, family and friends often buy them with the best will in the world, but generally do not understand fully the eye condition, or the signs and symptoms of that condition. Two patients can have the same eye condition, with the same standard of vision, but will need different types of Magnifiers depending on their personal needs. The assessment looks at all the visual demands of the Patient.

At Edward Watts, we work very closely with our Ophthalmic Colleagues and have direct links with the Rehabilitation Officers in the local Sensory Teams to provide the best support for you.

Sight is Precious

Sight is one of our most precious senses. In the world now, there are about 45 million blind people. Most areas of the world have seen a decrease in blindness except for Sub-Saharan Africa where an increase in the population is thought to be responsible. The main causes are corneal scarring (clouding of the front window of the eye), cataract, glaucoma and retinopathy in prematurity.

Children can inherit conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, which predominantly affects the side vision, macular dystrophies that prevent central detailed vision and Leiber’s Optic Atrophy, which affects the whole of the visual area. Children can also suffer from retinal detachments and older children can lose vision from diabetes.

Management

The most effective method of managing Low Vision is by means of Magnification. Vision may seem blurry or distorted but magnifying the size of the image can enable the object to be seen more easily.

Low Vision Aids

Edward Watts Opticians can supply virtually any Low Vision Aid from basic hand Magnifiers to spectacle mounted aids to auto-focusing telescopes. We also stock a range of electronic aids, being an Independent Opticians we have the benefit of not being tied into any one Manufacturer.

Low Vision Appliances For Children

Children get on better with Low Vision Aids if given to them from about three years of age especially when explained how much fun they can be. Looking at books and electronic games, the child can benefit from various appliances. Regular visits to the opticians are important as a child’s ability develops.

Useful Links

Macular Disease Society (MDS)
International Glaucoma Association (IGA)
RNIB