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Low Vision Service

Low vision is a subspecialty within the professions of optometry and ophthalmology dealing with individuals who have reduced vision even when using the best possible spectacle or contact lens correction available. It can be a result of either congenital disease (e.g. retinitis pigmentosa or Leber’s congenital amaurosis) or acquired factors (such as in some forms of optic atrophy).

Classifying Low Vision

Anyone with reduced vision not corrected by spectacles or contact lenses can be considered to be visually impaired. The World Health Organization uses the following classifications of visual impairment. When the vision in the better eye with best possible glasses correction is:
  • 20/30 to 20/60 : is considered mild vision loss, or near-normal vision
  • 20/70 to 20/160 : is considered moderate visual impairment, or moderate low vision
Legal blindness
  • 20/200 to 20/400 : is considered severe visual impairment, or severe low vision
  • 20/500 to 20/1,000 : is considered profound visual impairment, or profound low vision
  • More Than 20/1,000 : is considered near-total visual impairment, or near total blindness
  • No Light Perception : is considered total visual impairment, or total blindness
There are also levels of visual impairment based on visual field loss (loss of peripheral vision). Go to visual acuity to consult an international visual acuity expression chart. In the United States, any person with vision that cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in the best eye, or who has 20 degrees (diameter) or less of visual field remaining, is considered to be “legally blind” or eligible for disability classification and possible inclusion in certain government sponsored programs.
Low Vision Specialist
John Kinney, O.D.
Donald C. Fletcher, M.D.

Dr. Fletcher joined the Eye Medical Center of Fresno in 2008 and provides Low Vision Rehabilitation Services to patients in the Central Valley two days per month. Working in conjunction with David Livingston, Occupational Therapist, and Karen Myers, C.O.A., they provide both in-office and in-home training in use of adaptive equipment and environmental modifications to maintain independence and quality of life.