What is a Low Vision exam?
Low vision is defined as having a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, that interferes with one's ability to perform daily activities. The most common causes include macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, stroke/ traumatic brain injury, and congenital ocular diseases.
The goal of a low vision examination is to help you maintain your independence and quality of life which may be impacted by your vision loss. This exam is very different from the ocular health exam performed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. It is problem-focused and based on your goals and needs. We will assess your vision and how ocular disease impacts your ability to function. You will be evaluated for low vision devices that can help to improve your ability to function, such as high-powered reading glasses, magnifiers, tinted lenses, and telescopes. If necessary, we will be able to direct you for further evaluations by other vision rehabilitation professionals.
To get the most from the examination, it is important to realize that you will not be able to see as you did before your vision loss. You will be evaluated for devices that will help you to most effectively use your remaining vision, but this may require you to hold reading material close to your eyes or view through a small field of view. However, the benefits you will gain functionally will outweigh these limitations.
The evaluation will usually last a half hour to an hour. It is helpful to think about specific problems you are having at home, work, or school because of your vision. Your goals for the exam are critical in order to focus on what is most important to you.