Low Vision Rehabilitation

mature woman in glasses smilingAdjustment to any vision loss is difficult. It takes self-acceptance, determination, support of family and friends, and learning new techniques to fully utilize any remaining vision. The goal of the Low Vision Services is to enable people with low vision to improve their ability to use their remaining vision so they can be independent and better able to meet the demands of everyday living.

What is Low Vision?

Low vision is impaired vision that cannot be fully restored by conventional glasses, contact lenses, medical treatment, or surgery.

 Low Vision is NOT total blindness

People with low vision may still have some potentially useful vision.

Over 4 million Americans have low vision:

  • 68% are over the age of 65
  • 6% age 65 to 74
  • 12% age 75 to 84
  • 21% over age 85

Low Vision Rehabilitation

Low vision testing is available. Telescopic, microscopic and new computer based devices can be utilized to maximize visual performance for visually impaired patients. Oregon Law permits selected visually impaired individuals to drive with the use of bioptic telescopes.

Old couple in glasses embracingWhat are the major causes of low vision?

Low vision can be due to heredity, an injury, disease, or aging. Some of the most common causes of low vision are macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic atrophy, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachment, and stroke. Regardless of the cause of vision loss, we offer patients options that will enable them to use their vision to its fullest potential.

Do patients need to be referred to our Low Vision Services?

We accept all patients regardless who you usual family eye doctor is. At the conclusion of the low vision evaluation and rehabilitation period, the patient is instructed to return to your doctor for routine eye care.

How is the low vision patient helped?

We begin our low vision examination by asking questions about the history of your vision loss, what difficulties you are having performing tasks such as reading, writing, personal hygiene, cooking, and watching television. We will look for activities you have discontinued or have difficulty performing due to the vision loss. Throughout the examination we will be looking for ways to help you accomplish the tasks and activities that you desire. There are many different devices available for a person with low vision, including magnifiers, telescopes, microscopes (high plus lenses for reading), custom lighting, and a special television to magnify reading material and photographs. Custom designed low vision devices also may be prescribed. Many patients use a combination of devices.

Vision Rehabilitation Plan

After completing the low vision examination, we will design a vision rehabilitation plan. The plan will include the goals to which the team and you have agreed; the devices that best fit those goals and your lifestyle; the training and support that will be the most helpful; and referral to supporting services and agencies. At subsequent visits, the devices will be dispensed and you will be trained on their proper use. Using the devices for independent living activities such as cooking, shopping, and reading mail, will also be taught. Computer technology and electronic reading devices will be evaluated if you have specific goals that can be met by them.

The benefits to you…

You can improve your remaining vision so that you can live as independently as possible, and have a productive and happy life.