When to Schedule a Low Vision Examination
Low vision rehabilitation is a very important part of care for all visually impaired patients. Low vision care is not about devices and magnification. It is about people and helping those people lead happier, easier and fuller lives. Every patient who has vision loss, from children to seniors, experiences difficulties in their activities of daily living, working, going to school, and driving in some cases due to their vision issues. Low vision rehabilitation is imperative in helping these patients thrive despite their vision loss. The earlier patients are exposed to low vision care, the better the quality of their life and the happier they are with their overall eye care.
Early treatment of wet AMD by ophthalmologists with anti-VEGF injections means more patients retaining mild to moderate vision loss that can easily be addressed with low vision care. Driving, shopping, cooking, viewing television and reading can be crucial to a senior patient’s quality of life.
When should a patient be referred for low vision care? If a patient has even ONE of the complaints below, you should consider referring the patient for low vision care.
1. One Major Visual Complaint.
If the patient is complaining that they are having difficulty reading, seeing to drive, problems with glare and/or light sensitivity, tripping or falling due to their eyesight, difficulty watching television, using their computer and/or problems seeing in the distance, they should be referred for a low vision examination.
2. Visual Acuity of 20/60 or Less.
When a patient reaches 20/60 or worse acuity in the better eye, they are going to have problems that will affect their daily lives from reading small print and newspaper to using the computer to driving. Visual acuities that are worse than 20/80-20/100 will cause substantial difficulties for the patient. This is the perfect time to get patients started with low vision care and improve their quality of life.
3. Patients with Visual Field Loss.
Patients with visual field loss from retinitis pigmentosa, stroke and head injuries have a myriad of issues including tripping and bumping into things, having difficulty in mobility and easily being frightened as objects appear from their blind side. These patients may also have contrast and glare and light issues that need addressed in low vision care.
Remember low vision care is about people. It is helping these patients see as best as they can which will improve the quality of their lives whether that is the last few years of their life or whether it is for a lifetime.