The new Low Vision Rehabilitation Department under the auspices of Dr Stilianos D. Karditsas, MD, Pharm, PhD is the only such a unit is all over Greece and Southeastern Europe.

Low vision (LV) is defined as the level of vision below which the patient cannot accomplish everyday tasks and activities and cannot be improved by conventional glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery (functional definition). Visual impairment may present not only as reduced visual acuity and/or visual field loss, but also as loss of contrast sensitivity, photophobia, metamorphopsia, impaired color perception, impaired depth perception, reduced dark adaptation, binocular dysfunction, visual  perception or awareness disorders or as a combination of these.  People with low vision can improve their quality of life through vision rehabilitation services, where they can be taught how to use and maximize their residual vision more effectively and/or learn alternative strategies and techniques using eccentric viewing. Use of a variety of visual and adaptive aids may help the patients keep their independence and continue leaving productively.

Low vision aids (LVA) is any device that enables the LV patient to improve performance. There are two types of aids: optical (including electronic) and nonoptical aids.

Optical aids may be lenses, prisms, mirrors, telescopes or electronic devices. All of the aids use healthy areas of the retina to substitute for damaged areas. Nonoptical aids are visual aids that do not use magnifying lenses to improve visual function (specific illumination, absorptive lenses and filters, enhancing contrast aids, reflection control and linear magnification aids).

The dispensing of low vision aids requires careful training of the patient by his ophthalmologist, in order to maximize his ability to interpret images and impressions.

In the near future, the approach of LV patients may change, as new therapeuting modalities develop, such as stem cell therapy, retinal implants and gene therapy.

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