Everything that we do during the day is sight related. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed, we are dependent on our vision. We look at the clock when we wake, put toothpaste on our toothbrush, read the newspaper, prepare meals, pay bills, manage medication, drive, shop, visit friends and family, watch TV at night. So what happens when those daily activities become a major challenge? How do you handle your life, your family, your job?
If you are experiencing these challenges then you might have what is called low vision. Low vision can be compared to an invisible disease. It is often hard for friends and family members to appreciate the difficulties that are related to low vision, as they can’t see the problem. Often times in order to try and explain vision loss, a person will say they are blind. However, they may have usable vision but don’t have the language to inform others. People with decreased hearing are not deaf, just hard of hearing. But have you ever heard anyone say they were hard of seeing?
At CVI’s Florence Maxwell Low Vision Clinic our goal is to help those people who are “hard of seeing”, develop the skills, education and tools to remain as independent as possible to gain an improved quality of life.
What defines low vision? According to Medicare, there are three ways to determine if a person has low vision.
If a person fits into any of these three categories, our hope is your doctor will recommend you for low vision services. However, when a person is ready to be seen in a low vision clinic should be based more on difficulties with activities of daily living.
Ask yourself are there one or more activities that you do during the day that are more difficult because of your vision loss? For example, are you having challenges with reading small print, seeing the dials on houshold appliances, or pouring your coffee without spilling it? If the answer is yes, then you are a good candidate for low vision services. People will often say, “I am not that bad”. Yet, how bad does one have to be? It has been documented in research that the earlier a person receives low vision services, the better the outcomes, and the less chance of onset of depression and the easier it is to resume a good quality of life.
If someone has a hip or knee replacement, they would naturally see a therapist to regain strength, learn exercises and obtain tools to resume independence. It is the same process with decreased vision. It is important that you see a low vision specialist, a low vision Optometrist, Certified Low Vision Therapist or an Occupational Therapist as well as a social worker; so that they provide the help you need to resume independence.
You may have tried magnifiers before, had special glasses made and nothing worked. Yet, without proper education it may be the tools weren’t correct for your vision or that they weren’t being used the proper way. Let us use our unlimited expertise in helping you to achieve your goals, enhance your independence and improve your quality of life.
For more information on the Florence Maxwell Low Vision clinic or to schedule an appointment please call CVI’s Client Services Department at 404-875-9011.