Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses: Low Vision Treatment

          Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses:
Low Vision Treatment

If you are willing to learn new ways of seeing this book is for you.  Low vision glasses may be able to bring the joyful parts of life back into better focus.

Pioneering optics and electronic magnification are important tools to seeing better with advancing macular degeneration.

It is beneficial to have a good understanding of the eye and macular degeneration.  Macular degeneration causes a partial loss in vision; however, the part that is lost is the critical central vision needed for fine detail vision like reading.  You never go blind with macular degeneration.

You have “low vision” when you cannot see well enough to do the things you like and need to do.

There are effective ways to minimize the vision problems macular degeneration creates.  You can see better…not perfect…but definitely better.  Magnification is the key to improving what you want to see.

The complete free book is available for download from

Low Vision Glasses for Near Activities
reading • writing • computer • cards • painting • puzzles
bingo • music • knitting • recipes • genealogy • photos   

Prismatic Magnifying Readers (PMRs)

ClearImage II Reading Microscope

Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs)

Low Vision Glasses for Distance Activities
driving • television • faces •  live theater • sports 
scenery • museums  • walking
                               E-scoop Glasses
                                         Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs)
                                                a. Full diameters
                                                b. Bioptics

Learning the benefits and limitations of magnification is an important step to seeing better.  Magnification can be supplied in low vision eyeglasses, hand-held optical magnifiers or electronically through the use of special equipment.

Lighting, enhanced contrast and glare control are additional treatment tools.
Bioptic Magnifying Glasses for Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a common, incurable and potentially devastating disease.  It is a progressive condition that causes vision loss in the center of your vision.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people 50 and older. The older you are, the greater your chance of being affected by age-related macular degeneration. Early detection is the key to reducing the effects of this condition.
Symptoms for macular degeneration often include a gradual or sudden loss of vision for tasks like reading, writing, driving or seeing faces clearly.  There may be haziness, small or large blind spots, or even distortions in vision.

Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness, but it can decrease your quality of life by blurring or causing a blind spot in your central vision. Clear central vision is used for reading, driving, recognizing faces and seeing any task requiring detail work.

In contrast, the peripheral retina is responsible for detecting objects and movement off to the side and this is not affected by macular degeneration.  Peripheral vision is naturally blurry, yet very beneficial.  It is necessary for keeping us safe as we move about throughout the day.  It also becomes more important for daily activities as macular degeneration progresses.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology 10 million Americans have some stage of macular degeneration. There are 200,000 new individuals developing this condition every year.

Normal eyesight consists of a combination of
clear center vision and blurry side vision.
Macular degeneration affects the center vision only.

The Stages of Macular Degeneration

Early Stage  
Intermediate Stage 
  Advanced Stage  
End Stage (it gets no worse)

Looking under the telescope
Looking through the telescope


What is the Macula?
The macula is an area of the light-sensitive retina in the center of the back of the eye. In the center of the macula is the fovea that contains densely packed photoreceptor cells which are necessary for seeing fine detail and providing sharp straight-ahead vision. 

What is the Fovea?
The fovea is the “sweet spot” in the middle of the macula needed for 20/20 vision.  When we lose the ability of the fovea to “see”, we no longer can have sharp vision.


What are Low Vision Glasses?
People with advancing macular degeneration need magnification to “see around the blind spots and distortion”.  In other words, they need a “clarification “boost”.  Magnification spreads the image to healthier parts of the macula and retina. Magnification makes the blind spots and distortions seem smaller; however, magnification can never truly eliminate them.  Magnification helps reduce the amount of vision impairment.

Standard eyeglasses consist of only one lens.  Depending on the level of vision and what needs to be seen, a single lens may no longer be able to provide enough magnification.
Magnification of a single lens is determined on its curvature, thickness and material (index of refraction). 

Telescopic and Tele-Microscope Low Vision Glasses
Ever look through a pair of binoculars and everything is larger and easier to see?
In order to get good quality high-power magnification in a pair of glasses, two or three lenses separated by an air space is often required.  This is not your standard pair of eyeglasses.  The telescopes improve the image size.
Why didn’t my doctor tell me about Low Vision Glasses?
Eye doctors are excellently trained in diagnosing and treating eye diseases.  They are extremely busy in what they know and do best.  Macular degeneration creates a type of blurriness that cannot be helped with normal eyeglasses.

Traditional eyeglass lenses are designed to focus light and images on to the macula located in the back of the eye. Everyday glasses are used to correct the eye's focusing problems: myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (unequal cornea curvatures) and presbyopia (decreased reading vision after age 40). These lens corrections put the image clearly onto the macula allowing for 20/20 vision when the macula and fovea are healthy.

When the macula is damaged the "picture remains faulty" even when the glasses are focusing the image properly on to the macula. The more the macula is damaged the poorer the vision.
Low vision glasses are not your regular pair of eye glasses.  They magnify the image beyond the damage areas in the macula.

There are very few doctors with training in advanced low vision optics or who specialize in the field of Low Vision Rehabilitation. 

If you ask your doctor they should be able to refer to a low vision specialist.  You may also call the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists at (888) 778-2030.

Low vision eyeglasses may not help everyone, but you do not know if you do not try.  The benefits low vision glasses can provide depends on your level of vision, what you want to see and do, and your ability to adapt to new ways of seeing.
To down load a free complete copy of
Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses:
Low Vision Treatment
please visit

Contact Dr. Kinkade for a free telephone consultation
to see if you or someone you know is a candidate
for his special glasses.
(800) 756-0766

Low Vision Consulting - Connecticut
Cheshire • Danbury • Farmington
Litchfield • Manchester Norwalk • Waterford


















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