What is Low Vision Rehabilitation?
Helping people with Low Vision see the best they can is no quick and easy task. Some Low Vision causing diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy may have even taken years to damage the eye. Therefore, it is fair to say that you cannot help someone with impairment from these diseases see better in one quick visit to an eye doctor.
The Low Vision Rehabilitation team consists of 3 people: The Low Vision eye doctor. This can be either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, who has completed extra years of schooling in the subject of Low Vision. The Low Vision occupational therapist. This person is trained and licensed in the field of occupational therapy and has completed extra education in the field of Low Vision. The final member of the team is the Low Vision patient.
Often times, patients are depressed and frustrated with the way their vision has deteriorated and have difficulty accepting that regular eye glasses will no longer help them. It is up to the first two team members to use their combined skills to educate the patient on the vision aides available in the correct prescription and assist the patient in learning to use the devices.
The Low Vision occupational therapist follows a rehabilitation plan that was created by the eye doctor during the Low Vision examination. Working with the Low Vision therapist allows the patient to compare and contrast the different devices to see which ones are working best for their needs. Its interesting to watch this process . Patients are pleasantly surprised when they discover a low vision device helps them much more than they expected.
The Low Vision occupational therapists helps guide the patient through all the decision making processes so that in the end the patient knows exactly which devices worked best and under what conditions. The rehab process helps to eliminate guess work and leads to more concrete findings as to what the patient will actually use to see their best.
Low Vision occupational therapists also assist the patients in Activities of Daily Living. These are any activity that is needed to get through a day in life such as cooking, seeing stove dials, cutting food, seeing food on the plate, cleaning, grooming, to name a few. Some times Low Vision occupational therapists will teach patients ways to perform these tasks that don't involve any Low Vision device, but rather just some simple strategic ways to deal with these tasks.
Whether it is training a patient to use Low Vision devices or in Activities of Daily Living, the basic goal of Low Vision rehabilitation is to keep patients independent and safe.