People with severe vision loss from conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetes, and glaucoma can often benefit visually from low vision aids. Some examples are telescopes, microscopes, and hand magnifiers. Some exciting new low vision devices include the VES-AF autofocus telescope from Ocutech as well as the Merlin color CCTV system from Enhanced Vision Systems.
For individuals who experience low vision, low vision rehabilitation can give them the ability to perform basic day-to-day tasks that may have been difficult before.
At Optometrists of Lansing, our caring doctors are here to provide the best eye care. Whether you are looking for low vision rehabilitation, specialty contact lens fitting, or dry eye syndrome treatment, we are here to help our patients every step of the way.
What Is Low Vision?
Low vision is a condition caused by diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. You have low vision if your visual acuity is 20/70 or worse in your better-seeing eye. Your vision also cannot be improved with glasses.
Low vision, though, is often thought about more with function rather than numbers. Low vision negatively impacts how well you can perform day-to-day activities.
What Is a Low Vision Examination?
At a low vision exam, you will first receive a functional eye exam. An eye exam will test how your vision affects your day-to-day life. For example, do you struggle to see oncoming traffic while crossing the street?
In addition to an eye exam, Your doctor will also ask questions about your general health. They may also use other specialized tests to determine the cause of your low vision. These tests will also tell your doctor how much peripheral vision you have.
What Is Low Vision Rehabilitation?
The goal of low vision rehabilitation is to help preserve your sight. Low vision rehabilitation will not reverse any damage that has already occurred; however, It can help you keep the sight you have left.
When Should I Pursue Low Vision Rehabilitation?
You should begin low vision rehabilitation as soon as you experience loss of vision.
What Are Low Vision Aids, and How Do They Help?
Your rehabilitation team may recommend low vision aids such as telescopes, microscopes, and hand magnifiers. These aids are designed to make your daily life easier.
What Should I Look for in Low Vision Rehabilitation Services?
Choosing the right vision rehabilitation team is essential. You should look for health care professionals who create a safe, friendly environment.
You may work with one or more of the following:
- An eye doctor
- A low-vision specialist
- An occupational therapist
- A rehabilitation teacher
- An orientation and mobility specialist
- A social worker
- A counselor
- An assisting technology professional
For any rehabilitation, ask if they provide a low vision evaluation. Ideally, a trained eye doctor will perform this evaluation.
You will also want to ask about low vision aids. Are those devices loaned and then returned, or will you need to buy them?
Finally, inquire about rehabilitation training. Are there any home assessments or support groups available?
How Much Does Low Vision Rehabilitation Cost?
In some cases, low vision rehabilitation is directly billed to Medicare or insurance. For veterans, the Veterans Administration will likely cover any necessary evaluations and devices.
In some situations, you may have to pay for these services yourself.
What if My Child Needs Low Vision Rehabilitation?
Low vision is not limited to adults — some children have low vision as well. If your child needs low vision rehabilitation, what can you expect?
A pediatric eye doctor may work with your child. A special teacher for students with visual impairment may join your child’s team as well.
Ask if your child qualifies for an individual family service plan (IFSP). If the child’s vision affects their schoolwork, consider an individual education plan (IEP).
IEPs help make sure students with special needs do not fall behind. Physical or occupational therapy might also be part of the treatment plan.
Finally, your child may qualify for devices covered by child development grants. Ask your child’s school or intervention services to apply for the grants.