Low vision services do not cure the cause of lost sight and they cannot restore lost vision. These services can help a patient use the remaining vision more efficiently and to its fullest potential. These enhancements may take many forms including microscopic bifocals for reading, telescopes for distance and special tints to reduce glare. Some devices are designed to enhance awareness of surrounding objects for the person with limited side vision.
The Low Vision Examination
The services of the low vision specialist begin with a careful examination requiring one to three hours and may require more than one visit. It includes a thorough case history, measurements of functional vision, evaluation with microscopic, telescopic and closed circuit television systems and other tests required to determine the appropriate low vision aids. Next the doctor will develop a plan and explain it to the patient and family. If low vision aids are prescribed, the doctor and staff will fit the aids and train the patient in their use. Return visits are usually required to check on the progress of the patient and to make any needed changes in the aids or the training regimen.
What kind of person falls into the category of "low vision"?
- The elderly person who can no longer watch TV or read their own mail
- The premature infant who suffers vision loss as a result of life-saving oxygen
- The person who can no longer recognize faces and is accused of ignoring friends
- The homemaker who can no longer cook and is advised to find someone to help her
- The office worker who can no longer read standard size print and is told to pursue a new career.
- Many persons who have been told, "nothing can be done" or "stronger glasses won't help."
It has been estimated that up to 80% of persons classified as "legally" blind could actually benefit from a low vision evaluation.
For additional information log onto www.lowvision.org