Tag Archives: assistive technology

Why You Should Seek a Low Vision Evaluation

Here is another excerpt from my book from the chapter titled: Acceptance-Adjustment-Adaption

The low vision evaluation is different from the medical eye examination that you receive from your optometrist or ophthalmologist.  The medical examination is focused primarily on evaluating the health of the visual system, concluding with a diagnosis and subsequent treatment, if needed.  The refraction, which determines the eyeglass prescription, is generally a part of that medical examination.  Your eye doctor wants you to leave the office with the best vision possible.

If your vision is not optimal, in other words, not “20/20’ with a new eyeglass prescription, additional testing will be done and a diagnosis determined.  The doctor next considers the appropriate treatment, either medication or surgery.  Sometimes there is no treatment, or the maximum treatment has been given, and there is no improvement in vision.  The doctor may say ‘nothing more can be done, see you in three months.”

Nothing more can be done!  This clinician may be brilliant within his/her scope of practice, but may not be aware of what the low vision specialist does, is too busy to concern himself, or may not be familiar with a referral network.  They may think the patient is too old or the vision loss is too severe.  I have heard of doctors, at the top of their profession, who send the patient out shopping for magnifiers.

This is where you need to be your own advocate.  Low vision services can be found in private practices (optometrists or ophthalmologists who also practice low vision), low vision multidisciplinary centers, and state or federal agencies.  Multidisciplinary low vision referral centers will have low vision specialists who work with occupational therapists, rehabilitation therapists, and counselors.

Low vision specialists are licensed optometrists or ophthalmologists, who understand the disease process and will have insight into the prognosis because of their medical training.  They are knowledgeable about functional vision loss and understand their limitations.  They have seen people with similar problems before, and will not think you are too old or too debilitated.  Their goal is to help maximize your visual potential, and help you through the adjustment and adaption process.

The low vision specialist evaluates the type of vision loss, whether it is a loss of visual acuity, visual field, or contrast sensitivity, and then evaluates what visual function remains. Their goal is not to treat the disease process in a medical sense, as with medications or surgery.  Medical treatment is still the domain of your regular eye doctor, with whom you should continue to see on a regular basis.

Here are the reasons to get a low vision evaluation;

  1. To Advocate for Yourself;
  2. Introduction to Visual Aids and Techniques;
  3. Education and Counseling, and
  4. Appropriate Referrals.

Thought for the Day: The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.   B.B.King

Telescopes as Distance, Intermediate, and Near Low Vision Aids

Telescopes and binoculars are multi-lens devices that are used  primarily for viewing the distance, but can be adapted for use at closer distances. While most of us are familiar with the common celestial telescopes and bird-watching binoculars, the systems for use by those with low vision are miniaturized.  Continue reading Telescopes as Distance, Intermediate, and Near Low Vision Aids

Introduction to Assistive Technology for Low Vision

Familiar to us is the term low vision aides.  Most commonly this term is associated with high powered eyeglasses and magnifiers.  Assistive technology refers to  low vision aids, both high tech and low tech. They are devices and products designed to level the playing field for those with visual impairments. With assistive technology, students can keep up with their classmates and move efficiently through the higher levels of education.  The working visually impaired can maintain employment with the right assistive technology in place. When we are not working or going to school, assistive technology helps with activities of daily living. It keeps the visually impaired active, engaged, and independent. Continue reading Introduction to Assistive Technology for Low Vision