Spectacle Lenses Provide the Most Effective Treatment in Visual Impairment

Spectacle lenses are the most common and effective form of treatment for visual impairment.

Spectacle lenses are the most effective and commonly used low vision aids for visual impairment, according to a study published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics. Even individuals with visual impairment who do not experience improved visual acuity with eyeglasses sometimes wear them for a variety of other reasons, the report shows.

Researchers enrolled 577 individuals (age range, 4-100 years; 54.70% boys and men) with mild (20.8%), moderate (34.0%), and severe (45.2%) visual impairment in the investigation. Study participants underwent a low vision evaluation and completed a functional vision assessment questionnaire to report the effect of their vision on daily activities.

Among 515 participants who received refractive error corrections, distance and near best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) improved significantly (mean difference, 0.28 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR]; P <.001 for both) following correction. A majority of study participants (64.7%) selected spectacle lenses as their primary low vision aid, while between 53.3% and 80.3% of participants combined eyeglasses another low vision aid.

When addressing patients’ needs, it appears that eyeglasses are the primary form of correction accepted by a majority of patients.

Aside from refractive error correction, individuals who experienced improved vision with spectacle lenses also wore glasses for glare reduction (21%), contrast enhancement (17.4%), subjective distance clarity enhancement (12.0%), extended field of view (10.5%), magnification (10.2%), and strabismus management (5.9%).

A total of 106 participants did not experience vision improvement following refractive correction. Among these individuals, 26.4% still wore spectacle lenses for reasons including habit, appearance and self-confidence, according to informal interviews.

“When addressing patients’ needs, it appears that eyeglasses are the primary form of correction accepted by a majority of patients,” according to the researchers. “The lenses can be refined further to improve contrast, reduce glare, and expand the visual field. Combining the refractive correction with a low vision optical device can result in a reduced need for magnification, and hence a larger [field of view].” 

Study limitations include the use of convenience sampling and an ethnically homogenous cohort, which may limit the globalization of the study’s findings.


Cheng CY, Sheu MM, Chen PS, Chuang YT, Cheng HM, Hsieh HP. Assessing low vision care and the utilisation of optical low vision aids among patients with visual impairment in Taiwan. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Published online July 21, 2023. doi:10.1111/opo.13205