Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month

A CVI client getting a low vision exam

Have you ever wondered what it means when someone says they have low vision? Many of us probably think of an elderly family member who has a hard time reading or watching TV. It is true that most people with vision loss are age 65 or older, and with the population living longer, this age group is at an increased risk of experiencing eye diseases and age-related conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, glaucoma and low vision. But, low vision can affect anyone at any age.

Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. What are some of the questions you should ask yourself or a loved one to determine if they are experiencing low vision?

  1. Do you have trouble reading the paper or watching TV?
  2. Is it a struggle to recognize faces?
  3. Are you having problems accomplishing daily tasks?

If you or your loved one answered yes to any of these, it might be time to learn about living with vision loss.

Rehabilitation services help people adapt to vision loss and maintain their quality of life through teaching them a wide range of skills. Individuals experiencing low vision begin the rehabilitation process through an evaluation. An optometrist performs an examination and outlines the current state of the person’s vision as it relates to visual field, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and general ocular health as well as several other areas.

The exam is followed by training with the occupational therapist (OT) who reviews the recommended assistive devices with the client and generates a plan of care specific to the individual’s needs. The plan facilitates independent use of each device to perform daily activities of life most effectively and as independently as possible. Devices such as large closed captioning televisions, small pocket magnifiers or audio equipment can all be used to assist someone with low vision needs.

In addition to a low vision evaluation and OT services, individuals who come to the Center for the Visually Impaired also receive assistance with vocational rehabilitation like orientation and mobility, computer training, and job placement support. It is our hope that each client departs the Low Vision Clinic with a wealth of information, assistive devices and a restored faith in their independence and quality of life.

In honor of Low Vision Awareness month, the Low Vision Clinic will be offering demonstrations by the Occupational Therapist on February 6 and 11 from 9 a.m. to Noon in the lobby of the Clinic. Stop by to learn more about living with low vision or services offered by the Low Vision Clinic. If you can’t make it by, learn more by clicking here or call us at 404-875-9011.