Low Vision

Low vision is any type of vision impairment that makes it difficult to perform normal tasks such as reading, driving, cooking, watching television, recognizing faces or shopping. If eyeglasses, medicine or surgery do not improve vision, it becomes necessary to adapt to low vision in Billings and find ways to maintain as much independence as possible. 

In order to properly diagnose this condition, our low vision exams include more than just device selection. We provide a comprehensive assessment of: 

  • Health and medication history
  • Vision history
  • Low vision history
  • Eye health evaluation
  • Low vision refraction (trial frame)
  • Amsler grid
  • Visual field testing
  • Color vision
  • Depth perception
  • Contrast sensitivity

There are eligibility requirements for our low vision services including: 

  • Vision must be between 20/40 and 20/800 
  • Need visual field greater than 5 degrees

Low Vision Definitions

Moderate Visual Impairment

  • Snellen visual acuity = 20/70 to 20/160

Severe Visual Impairment

  • Snellen visual acuity = 20/200 to 20/400
  • Or visual field of 20 degrees or less

Profound Visual Impairment

  • Snellen visual acuity = 20/500 to 20/1000
  • Or visual field of 10 degrees or less

Symptoms of Low Vision

If you have low vision, you may experience: 

  • Central vision disturbance
  • Peripheral vision disturbance
  • Difficulty with color perception
  • Difficulty with depth perception
  • Blurry, hazy, wavy or distorted vision
  • Inability to see in dim lighting environments

Risk Factors for Low Vision

While anyone can experience low vision, it is more common in older people. Eye trauma, stroke and brain injury can lead to low vision. Certain eye diseases can also increase your risk for low vision:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Treatment for Low Vision

If your low vision is caused by an eye disease, there may be treatments to restore some of your eyesight. However, it is possible that you will need to begin a vision rehabilitation program to learn new strategies on how to live your life. Accept the support of your doctors, family and friends to help you through this adjustment period. Be patient: it will take time to get used to these new techniques. It may require a full team of experts to help you along this journey: ophthalmologist, low vision specialist, occupational therapist, rehabilitation teacher, orientation and mobility specialist, social worker or counselor.

We find that the people who have the most success with low vision services and devices are motivated individuals – especially young people with congenital problems and people who complete the training programs.    

Optical Low Vision Aids

Our team can help you determine which type of optical low vision aid would best suit your needs. 

  • Handheld magnifiers: available in varying strengths and may have a built-in light
  • Magnifying glasses: strong vision aids to help you perform detail-oriented tasks such as reading or needlework hands-free
  • Stand magnifiers: useful for people with arthritis or tremors because they do not have to be held
  • Telescopes: used for seeing faraway objects or signs; they can be hand-held like a pair of regular binoculars or mounted on a pair of glasses
  • Video magnifiers: adjustable, electronic devices that use a camera and video display unit (large or small) to enlarge printed material, pictures or small objects

More Low Vision Resources

There are many products on the market that can help with low vision. 

  • Printed materials in large print (books, playing cards, checks, etc.)
  • Technical items with large print (telephones, thermostats, watches, remote controls, etc.)
  • Technical items with sound capabilities (watches, timers, books, blood pressure/blood sugar machines)
  • Magnifying or talking computers
  • Strong light bulbs and handheld bright lights to illuminate your home and your daily tasks 
  • Wrap-around sunglasses and hats with wide brims to filter out glare from indoor or outdoor lights

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

There are many vision rehabilitation resources available. Our team would be happy to help you identify local resources to help you along this journey. If you are experiencing any type of vision loss in Billings, please contact us to schedule an eye exam today. We can help coordinate benefits with vocational rehab as well as blind and low vision services.

Our Locations


2475 Village Ln, SUITE 202
Billings, MT 59102

Red Lodge

111 S Broadway #B
Red Lodge, MT 59068


1150 W. Main St
Lander, WY 82520

Hot Springs County Memorial

150 E Arapahoe St
Thermopolis, WY 82443

Contact Us