Low Vision Rehabilitation
What is low vision?
Low vision is a classification for people with reduced vision clarity. Visual acuity is 20/70 or worse in the better eye and cannot be corrected by eyeglasses. That is, the vision loss is permanent. This deterioration in vision can make routine tasks (such as reading the mail, shopping, writing, etc.) more challenging.
Routine eye examinations will sometimes help to identify these conditions but unfortunately progression of disease is somewhat unpredictable. Patients with low vision still need routine evaluations, but may benefit from an additional low vision rehabilitation.
Low vision issues
Reduction/Loss of Central Vision
- With this type of loss, recognizing details (such as faces and words) is impaired.
Reduction/Loss of Peripheral Vision
- Side vision, which aids in mobility, can be significantly reduced.
Decreased Contrast Sensitivity
- This leads to problems distinguishing objects from their background.
Decreased Depth Perception
- A disruption in 3-D vision can cause a disruption in mobility.
What are the causes of low vision?
- Eye injuries
- Retinal detachment
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
How is low vision treated?
Unfortunately, low vision cannot be corrected by eyeglasses, laser correction, etc. However new technology continues to emerge that may aid in regaining lost eyesight. For example, implanted electrodes, microchips, or miniature embedded telescopes may soon be options for low vision sufferers.
Heart of America Eye Care has two doctors who perform low vision evaluations
Laura J. Brammer, OD and Stephanie A. Erker, OD help a person with their remaining vision and teach the patient methods to adapt to changes with daily activities.
A low vision exam consists of:
- Setting goals
- Vision assessment/prescription determination
- Glare and lighting assessment
- Contrast sensitivity improvement
- Magnification needs calculated and addressed
- Possible referral to occupational or physical therapist for Orientation and Mobility Training
The rehabilitative assessment usually lasts around 1 – 1 ½ hours. We recommended having a loved one attend the appointment for support.
Laura J. Brammer, OD
Stephanie A. Erker, OD
Low Vision, American Academy of Ophthalmology
Heart of America Eye Care offers high-quality products
We stock low vision devices to help achieve vision improvement goals, or we can refer you to the best sources. The use of a low vision aid depends on a variety of factors, for example the type of vision loss, the degree of loss, the light and glare needs, the ability of handling and operating the aid. Training of the device(s) required is available.
Some low vision devices are:
- Optical vision aids (spectacles, stand/hand magnifiers, telescopes)
- Autofocus eyewear
- Video magnification (closed circuit video magnification)
- Task lighting and magnification
- Computers (magnification, oversized monitors, large keyboard keys)
- Smartphones/tablets (voice commands, font enlargement, special lighting settings)
- Applications (magnification software, audio books for Kindle® or Nook®)
- Talking appliances (watches, alarms, scales, health equipment)