There are many ways to define low vision. You have low vision if you cannot see "normally" or cannot see well enough to drive safely, with the best regular prescription glasses.
A low vision specialist takes a careful and methodical history of your visual difficulties with emphasis on your current problems, checks and records your current prescriptions, performs a refraction of your eyes to determine your best prescription, and determines which low vision devices can help you to function better for distance and reading.
You are legally blind if, with glasses, your visual acuity is 20/200 or worse in your better eye, or you have less than 10 degrees of central visual field. You can have low vision and not be legally blind.
SPECIAL PURPOSE BIFOCALS: for computer use, hobbies or your occupation.
MICROSCOPES: High power reading glasses, for use with one or both eyes, may enable you to read normal size print more easily.
TELESCOPE: High power devices for looking at faces across a room or street, reading signs or computer screens, or watching TV. They can be used with one or both eyes and they can be either hand held or in glasses.
HAND MAGNIFIERS: Helpful for reading price tags, menus, thermostats, stove dials, etc.
SUNGLASSES / FILTERS: Many people with vision disorders are light sensitive. Special filters may enhance their comfort and function.
ELECTRONIC MAGNIFIERS: For patients who cannot read satisfactorily with glasses, certain devices can play print back on a screen at a size and speed you choose.
American Foundation for the Blind (212) 502-7600
Recording for the Blind, Inc. (800) 221-4792
The Carroll Center for the Blind (617) 969-6200
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (800) 392-6450
Macular Degeneration International (602) 797-2525
Nat'l Assn. for Parents of the Visually Impaired (800) 562-6265
Low Vision Information Center (301) 951-4444
The Perkins School (617) 924-3434.