What are the various medical terms associated with a vision impairment?

It can be difficult to fully understand what consultants and specialists are telling you about your child's vision. Some of the terminology you may hear during a hospital visit, includes:

Accommodation: The ability of the lens to change shape to focus on objects at different distances.
Congenital: A word describing any condition present at birth.
Field of vision: The total area that can be seen around you without shifting your gaze; detailed central vision as well as peripheral vision.
Functional vision: The ability to use eyesight in everyday conditions.
Low vision aids (LVAs): Aids that improve a person's functional vision such as magnifiers; often need training to be used efficiently.
Monocular vision: Sight through one eye only.
Peripheral vision: Everything that we see around us at the edge of our vision, outside our detailed central vision.
Refraction: The process by which the eyes are measured for long or short sight or astigmatism.
Visual acuity: A measure of the ability to see fine detail; often called central vision.
Visual perception: The ability to give meaning and understanding to what has been seen (not just to see it).

A full list of terminology and other useful information can be found on Guide Dogs Family Support web pages.

For more information on the common eye conditions associated with children please see our About your child's eyes section. 

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