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The Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Low Vision offers specialized testing and treatment options for low vision and visually impaired patients to maximize and enhance remaining vision and/or therapy to improve visual skills. Patients suffering from eye conditions and diseases causing irreversible vision loss, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and strokes affecting the side vision can benefit from such evaluation for therapy and treatment. Vision loss can be central or peripheral, in one or both eyes. A low vision evaluation does not take the place of the medical care by an eye care professional. We work with you to enhance your remaining vision. Typically patients are referred to us by their eye care professional but can refer themselves to us.

What is Low Vision?

Low vision is a collective term used to describe vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.

Definition of Low Vision Rehabilitation

Vision rehabilitation is the process of treatment and education that helps individuals who are visually disabled attain maximum function, a sense of well being, a personally satisfying level of independence, and optimum quality of life. Function is maximized by evaluation, diagnosis and treatment including, but not limited to, the prescription of optical, non-optical, electronic and/or other treatments. The rehabilitation process includes the development of an individual rehabilitation plan specifying clinical therapy and/or instruction in compensatory approaches.

Vision rehabilitation may be necessitated by any condition, disease, or injury that causes a visual impairment which results in functional limitation or disability. In addition to the evaluation, diagnosis and management of visual impairment by an eye care physician, vision rehabilitation may include, but is not limited to, optometric, medical, allied health, social, educational and psychological services.

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Examination of the Individual with Vision Impairment

In addition to the comprehensive ophthalmic examination, the eye care physician provides the following components of care:

  • The extended case history

  • Diagnosis, qualification, and quantification of functional manifestations of ocular disease and level of visual impairment

  • Determination and prescription of treatment options, including, but not limited to, optical correction, magnification, selective absorption filters, and assistive devices/technologies to be integrated in a goal-directed treatment plan, including delineation of compensatory strategies and therapies

  • Impression of prognosis of patient benefit from participation in a vision rehabilitation therapy program

  • Establishment and coordination of a plan of care, including specification of a schedule for physician follow-up to assess therapeutic outcomes and need for continued care

What is Legal Blindness?

Legal blindness is the criteria used to determine government disability benefits and which do not necessarily indicate a person’s ability to function.  In the United States, the criteria is:

  • Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses (20/200 means that a person at 20 feet from an eye chart can see what a person with normal vision can see at 200 feet) OR

  • Visual field restriction to 20 degrees diameter or less (tunnel vision) in the better eye