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Low Vision

Military personnel are routinely exposed to sensory hazards in combat, training, and by exposure to potentially hazardous conditions on and off duty. There are many consequences of eye injury and disease. One is low vision. Low vision is vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional glasses. There are many ways to help people who have low vision. There are many tools and resources in the MHS and VHA available to help you learn to adjust. Get an eye exam right away if you experience signs of low vision.

Understanding Low Vision

The type of low vision depends on the disease or condition that caused the vision loss. Most common types of low vision are:

  • Central vision loss (not being able to see things in the center of your vision)
  • Peripheral vision loss (not being able to see things out of the corners of your eyes)
  • Night blindness (not being able to see in low light)
  • Blurry or hazy vision

Low vision can make it hard to do things like reading, shopping, cooking, or writing. You may have low vision if you can’t see well enough to do things like:

  • Read
  • Drive
  • Recognize people’s faces
  • Tell colors apart
  • See a television or computer screen clearly

Injury and Disease


  • Trauma
  • TBI
  • Burns
  • Blast
  • Chemical
  • Biological

Disease and Eye Conditions

  • Age-related eye diseases
    •  Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Macular degeneration
  • Amblyopia and strabismus
  • Uncorrected refractive errors
  • Stroke, high blood pressure, malnutrition, migraines, multiple sclerosis, vitamin deficiency (e.g., vitamin A), diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal detachment, vitreous traction
  • Eye infections (e.g., uveitis, endophthalmitis)
  • Macular edema
  • Genetics/heredity - Stargardt macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa