Low Vision Aids In Children: Profiling And Effectivity

Research Article
Nitasha Ahir and Kirti singh

Introduction: A person with low vision has impairment of vision even after treatment and/ or standard refractive correction with a visual acuity ranging from 6/18 to light perception in the better eye, or a visual field of less than 10° from the point of fixation, but who uses, or is potentially able to use, vision to plan and /or execute a task. The types of visual impairment in patients of low vision are: disabled central vision (reading vision), disabled/partial peripheral vision, disabled/partial colour vision, disabled/partial ability to adjust to different light settings and disabled/partial ability to adjust to different contrasts/glare. Fortunately, many of these visual disabilities are amenable to treatment with low vision aids. Material And Methods: Thirty five children suffering from low vision (BCVA <6/18 and/or visual field of less than 10° from the point of fixation) attending the Out Patient Department and the Paediatric Ophthalmology Clinic of Guru Nanak Eye Centre, New Delhi were included in this prospective study. After their best medical and surgical treatment, patients were then referred to the Low Vision Aids Clinic for the training and provision of Low Vision Aids. Patients were enrolled between October 2011 to February 2013 after taking an informed consent. The mean length of follow-up was minimum of 1 month. Results: This study ascertains the need and effectiveness of visual rehabilitation with low vision aids in children with low vision. Use of various optical and non optical devices helps such children to read their textbooks, improve their reading speed and comprehension rate as well as change their quality of life. Low vision aids improved visual acuity, both distance and near. Children who gained better visual acuity had significant improvement in reading speed and comprehension rate. It also had a significant effect on their quality of life; enabling them to read the textbooks, use mobile phones, read blackboard, watch television, go out alone in daylight, chat with friends and recognising them at a distance. Children with better visual acuity required lesser magnification of visual aids and showed more improvement than those with poor visual acuity. Contrast sensitivity was decreased in these low vision children and it did not show much improvement after the use of LVA. Visual field was restricted in these children both by nature of disease (retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, optic atrophy, microphthalmos) and by use of high plus spectacles. Major causes of low vision were retinal diseases, thereby suggesting family history as an important risk factor. Significant improvement in near vision proves visual rehabilitation an important and successful measure. Conclusion: Low vision is a major public health problem in our country and when transacted onto the children, it demands a special attention. Early visual rehabilitation in children reduces their blind years and helps them live an independent and near normal life. This study ascertains the need and effectiveness of visual rehabilitation with low vision aids in children with low vision