If you suffer from diminished vision issues and have been told that there’s nothing further that can be done for your condition, it’s probably because traditional corrective options, such as glasses and surgery, don’t offer any answers for your particular problem. This can certainly be depressing, and many people in your position simply give up and resign themselves to a reduced quality of life. However, Low vision services are available to help those with this condition retain their independence and enjoy an active, fulfilling lifestyle.
The first step in receiving customized low vision care designed to help you live your best life is to have a thorough evaluation by a trained professional. Here’s what you can expect:
The first step is a screening designed to determine your level of visual functionality. You’ll be asked about which tasks you can comfortably perform as well as tested for everyday activities such as meal preparation, using a microwave, unlocking a door with a key, navigating around your home environment and immediate neighborhood, your ability to use whatever transportation is available to you, and taking medications. Family and social obligations will also be taken into consideration during your initial screening process — after all, this information will be necessary for when it’s time to craft a customized low vision rehabilitation plan.
Screening for Depression
Because one of the major side effects of low vision is depression, you may also be screened for this as well. Depression can cause a significant lack of motivation and interfere with clear thought processes, so it’s best to go into low vision treatment armed with the determination to make it work combined with a positive attitude. If necessary, your optometrist can provide referrals to resources that can help you overcome depression and anxiety.
The next step is to perform a comprehensive visual assessment which will include the following:
1. A visual acuity assessment. This is the standard test given in schools. DMV, and in eye doctors’ offices, and you’ve undoubtedly taken one before. it’s the test that involves seeing how well you recognize letters as they grow progressively smaller on a chart when viewed from a specific distance.
2. Visual field assessment. Visual field assessments are used to determine how well your vision functions within a given area. The test checks side and central vision and is instrumental in identifying eye conditions that may affect the functionality of the retina. There are two common methods used to perform visual field assessments:
- The Humphrey visual field assessment is computer generated and projects a series of flashing lights. The object of the test is to determine the faintest light that you can see — some will be very bright, while others will be dim. There will be short periods during the test where there will be no lights at all.
- The Goldman visual field test works on the same principle as the Humphrey test but is not generated on a computer. Instead of flashing lights, however, you’ll be tested on series of moving targets that appear against a backdrop.
Other assessments may include sensitivity and refractive status. You should be sure to bring any visual aids such as eyeglasses or contacts to the exam because they may be required for the above testing procedures. Your eye doctor may want to gauge the difference between how you see with your visual aids and how you see without them.
Education About Your Options
Once the assessments have been performed, your eye doctor can then talk with you about your specific condition and provide you with information about your various options. Low vision therapy training has helped many people in your position to regain their quality of life and remain as independent as possible.
Your eye doctor will also provide you with customized referrals to services in your community that may be helpful as components in your overall low vision treatment plan. These may include support groups, employment training options for those with low vision, or visual therapists who specialize in your specific condition.
Please feel free to contact us at your convenience for more information on how we can help make the lives of those with low vision issues better. It all starts with an evaluation, so schedule yours today.