While most of us know when we need to see an eye doctor, perhaps it’s because words on a page seem blurry or signs off the highway seem unclear, we may not know what to do or who to turn to when our vision begins to fade. For those who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and conditions for which glasses or drops have already been prescribed, patients may assume that having low vision is either par for the course or simply not treatable. But that is precisely where low vision care comes into play.
Low vision is very much what it sounds like. It makes everyday activities, from deciphering colors, to reading, to driving, to being unable to recognize others, a challenge. Low vision cannot be fixed or reversed with glasses, surgical interventions, or medication. It can be addressed however, through the use of assistive devices that enable you to enjoy activities you may have thought you’d have to give up on.
For individuals who have lost their jobs due to low vision vocational rehab can help. This intervention is also helpful for those who may want to learn new skills and transition to different fields.
Vocational rehabilitation can be quite effective for teenagers transitioning from high school to the workforce, as well as those who want to pursue a college education or trade.
Although there are a number of ways patients with low vision can live successful, productive lives, they may not know what options are available to them. Additionally, and particularly for patients who were once fully- sighted, there is a very real grief process that often takes place. Being unable to see or perceive the world around you as you once did can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, resentment, and fear.
Part of helping patients is not only giving them physical tools, but emotional support that acknowledges how they are feeling and validates their struggles. And though we don’t want folks to live in those emotional moments, we feel strongly about acknowledging and supporting them in order to help them move forward with their low vision care.
Low vision optometry is a field that has been around for years, but is still coming into its own. That is why we get asked all sorts of questions about what we do and how. Low vision care involves so much more than seeing the world the way you used to. It is also about adapting to change and learning how to see things in an entirely different light.