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Eye and Vision Care

Scarring on the Retina

12/17/2009

Question:

I have a friend that has 2200 vision. He has scarring on the retina and nerve damage to the optic nerve. So far he has not found any solutions for this problem. Is there anything he could do for treatment to correct this problem? He has been told he will be blind soon. Any help in the right direction is very much appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Answer:

My apologies for the delay in responding.  (I was sick.) 

Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to repair scarred retinas or damaged optic nerves.  Once these very complex and delicate tissues are destroyed, we are not able to replace or regenerate them using current methods.

Your report of 20/200 vision means that your friend needs to have things about 10 times larger or 10 times closer to be able to see them as well as someone with 20/20 vision would. 

Has your friend received any low vision care?  This is a form of rehabilitation that considers a wide range of technologies and strategies for functioning well despite poor vision.  It is important that your friend know that many people with vision in the 20/200 range are able to get special magnification systems that allow them to significantly improve their reading abilities.  He or she should ask the retina doctor for a low vision referral or seek one out through other channels.

It is also important that your friend seek clarification about the prospect of going blind.  This is, obviously, a very scary subject.  What many people do not know is that the word has different technically meanings.  When people refer to "legal blindness," it should be understood that most people who are considered "legally blind" still have useful vision.  Without knowing the details of your friends medical situation, I do not know just how much more vision loss is likely, how rapidly that might occur, and what the "worst case scenario" might be.  In a return visit with his or her eye doctor (or, perhaps, with a low vision specialist) this subject could be explored further. 

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Response by:

Roanne   Flom, OD Roanne Flom, OD
Professor of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University