What is a low vision optometrist?

Published on
July 27, 2022

In the United States, approximately 12 million people over the age of 40 have vision impairment. In the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area there are an estimated 680 thousand people with low vision. 

A Low vision optometrist is a specialist that works in conjunction with a retinal specialist or Ophthalmologist to help people with vision loss of any kind by helping them achieve the most with their remaining vision. The low vision optometrist will identify the patient's visual goals, then work with the patient and their loved ones to find solutions to enable the best possible vision and accomplishment of those visual goals. .

Who needs to see a low vision optometrist?

  • Anyone for whom their current glasses or contact lenses are not sufficient for them to function visually the way they would like
  • Anyone who struggles with reading after vision loss and who may just want to more easily be able able to read the newspaper, a book, or their computer 
  • Anyone who may want to drive, even though they may not have the vision standards for driving. With the correct guidance and devices  they may still be allowed to drive with certain restrictions.
  • Having difficulty seeing faces of their loved ones 
  • Anyone that has trouble moving around without bumping things or falling 
  • Anyone whose vision is causing difficulties with their daily functioning

What are the causes of low vision?

There are many types of eye disease and medical conditions that cause this condition. They include the following:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Injury to the optic nerve
  • Strokes
  • Stargardt 
  • Best disease 
  • Juvenile Retinoschisis 
  • Ocular Albinism

How can a low vision optometrist help you?

The low vision optometrist can assist a patient in obtaining the right guidance, understanding, and resources or other measures they need in order to achieve their visual goals. Low vision optometrists definitely work towards task-oriented goals. Specialized glasses, handheld magnification, tinted lenses, prisms, and high tech devices can provide better vision for many patients. A low vision optometrist not only helps find the best devices to improve vision but also guides the patient and shares resources to enable the most productive life after vision loss.  

Some of the devices that a low vision optometrist may recommend include: 

  • Prismatic glasses: Sometimes also known as high-powered reading glasses.
  • Microscopic glasses: Suitable for reading or working up close.
  • Bioptic telescopes: These are similar to spectacles, and they improve the ability to see far away. Some states allow people to drive with them.
  • Magnifiers: These range from handheld models to those with fixed stands that are more powerful.
  • CCTV: A magnifying device that projects images onto a monitor for enhanced magnification.

Schedule a low vision eye exam

It is the primary responsibility of a low vision optometrist to help people return to a normal life in which they are able to perform everyday tasks. Get in touch with our residency trained low vision optometrist, located north of Long Beach in Bellflower.  Call (562) 925 6591 or visit us at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach to schedule a low vision eye exam.


  • I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

    Claire A.

  • Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

    Jim K.

  • My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

    Teresa S.

  • The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

    Joe M.

  • I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

    Kayla W.



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