What is low vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment (usually reduced visual acuity and/or visual field) that is not corrected by medicine, surgery, contact lenses, nor standard glasses.  People with low vision have difficulty performing everyday activities, such as reading and watching TV.

What is low vision rehabilitation?

Low vision rehabilitation starts with an examination by a specially trained low vision optometrist or ophthalmologist.  These professionals understand the underlying eye disease/disorder and its specific impact on vision function.  After the low vision evaluation, the doctor develops a rehabilitation plan and may prescribe prescription eyewear, optical devices, electronic aids, adaptive computer software, glare control, modification of the student’s environment, counseling, education of the patient and family, skills training, an orientation and mobility evaluation, independent living aids, and/or an occupational therapy assessment.

How does the low vision examination differ from an ordinary eye examination?

A low vision exam differs from an ordinary eye examination as this specialized evaluation involves a detailed functional history, different evaluation equipment and methods, and tests using charts scaled for those with limited visual acuity. 

During a low vision exam, the doctor may: determine a student's best corrected acuity (including spectacle prescription and field), confirm the type and power of devices (optical magnification, specialty glasses, hand held or mounted telescopes, tinted lenses, assistive technology devices, etc.) that might be helpful for a child/student's individual needs and provide recommendations for managing the child's barriers to learning due to his/her visual impairment.   

The low vision exam emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach.  A referral for assessment by other professional services (ex. Orientation and Mobility) may also be recommended.