Low Vision Glossary

Adaptive and Assistive Devices — Prescription and nonprescription devices that help people with low vision enhance their remaining vision. Some examples include magnifiers and telescopes, talking devices, and computer software.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) — An eye disease that results in a loss of central, “straight—ahead” vision. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans. It makes reading, seeing faces, and performing other daily living tasks difficult.

Cataract — A clouding of the lens. People with a cataract see through a haze. In a usually safe and successful surgery, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a plastic lens.

Diabetes — A chronic disease related to high blood sugar that may lead to vision loss (diabetic retinopathy).

Dominant Optic Nerve Atrophy — Hereditary damage to the optic nerve, resulting in a loss of vision.

Eye Care Professional — An optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma — An eye disease that damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. Glaucoma affects peripheral, or side, vision.

Low Vision — A visual impairment, not corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, which interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities.

Low Vision Therapist — A vision rehabilitation professional who trains people with low vision to use optical and nonoptical devices and adaptive techniques to make the most of their remaining vision.

Ophthalmologist — A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all diseases and disorders of the eye and prescribes glasses and contact lenses.

Occupational Therapist — A rehabilitation professional who works with persons with disabilities, including low vision, to complete the everyday activities that they need for independence and quality of life.

Optometrist — A primary eye care provider who prescribes glasses and contact lenses, and diagnoses and treats certain conditions and diseases of the eye.

Orientation and Mobility Specialist — A vision rehabilitation professional who trains people with low vision to move about safely in the home and travel by themselves.

Specialist in Low Vision — An ophthalmologist or optometrist who specializes in the evaluation of low vision. This professional prescribes magnifying devices.

Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRTs) — A vision rehabilitation professional who teaches adaptive independent living skills, enabling adults who are blind or have low vision to confidently carry out a range of daily activities.