What Is Low Vision?

Partial vision loss that cannot be corrected causes a vision impairment known as "low vision." A person with low vision has severely reduced visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, a significantly obstructed field of vision — or all three. To see simulations of some of the most common causes of low vision, {rokbox title=|To go back a page while browsing this website, please use your browser's back button. :: brought to you by Optometric Physicians (360) 676-4030)| text=|click here.| size=|800 500|}http://www.lighthouse.org/medical/eye-disorders/{/rokbox}

Signs of Low Vision

  • Difficulty recognizing a familiar face
  • Difficulty reading — print appears broken, distorted or incomplete
  • Difficulty seeing objects and potential hazards such as steps, curbs, walls, uneven surfaces and furniture

Low Vision=Useful Vision

People with low vision usually retain some usable vision. Dr. Bearden can evaluate how you see and prescribe optical devices to maximize your remaining vision. This functional vision assessment is an important step in helping improve your quality of life.

Improving Your Functional Vision with the Help of Devices

Even with regular eyeglasses or contact lenses, a visual image — whether a sentence from a book or a crosswalk at a busy intersection — may appear distorted, blurred or incomplete if you have low vision. Dr. Bearden may recommend or prescribe devices such as magnifiers and tinted lenses to help you take full advantage of the sight you have. Non-optical devices such as large-print clocks and remote controls, as well as signature and writing guides, are also popular.

Low Vision Services

The inability to preform daily tasks makes life extremely difficult. The Optometric Physicians Northwest Low Vision staff helps patients regain some independence in such activities such as reading, paying bills, recognizing faces, maintaining balance and walking, enjoying hobbies, returning to work, managing household tasks, driving, and classroom participation.

Our low vision team provide care and advice. We supply a variety of visual enhancement devices to help you (or your loved one) maintain independence and quality of life.

What Can Vision Rehab Do?


Optical devices to enlarge text and increase contrast expand reading ability. Vision therapy can improve eccentric viewing (EV), a technique to move blind spots out of the way, and can improve scanning abilities.


Dispensing of optical technologies coupled with extensive training provides a comprehensive drivers rehabilitation program.

Returning to Work

Vocational rehabilitation, digital magnifiers, and specialized software can help some patients return to work.

Walking and Balance

Prism lenses, visual field expanders, and therapy stabilize vision. Dizziness and resultant falls are minimized.


Optical device training for ADLs (activities of daily living) is best done in the home or simulated home environment.

Hobbies & Activities

Low vision rehabilitation can be tailored to meet the demands of any hobby or activity (e.g., piano, painting, sports, nature).

Children & Learning

Help is available for visually impaired children who need assistance in vision information processing and vision-related learning disorders.
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2222 James Street; Suite A
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Optometric Phys. NW Whatcom Optical
(360) 676-4030 (360) 733-2332
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