When a person has vision loss they will often have multiple doctors that they see already, and are unsure if visiting another eye care professional is needed. They may have a long term relationship with their general care optometrist or an ophthalmologist, and they may be hesitant to switch to a new provider.
It is important to understand that a low vision optometrist does not replace your other eye doctors, rather they provide a new and extremely important aspect to the care team.

Maximizing your functional vision

A low vision optometrist is there to maximize your independence for people that are struggling to do the things that they love after losing some of their vision. These patients are unable to improve their vision with regular correction methods such as glasses or contact lenses.  They are confronted with a new reality where things that for most are taken for granted, such as reading, watching tv, driving, and seeing faces, now become difficult or impossible. The low vision optometrist will identify the visual tasks that are most important to the patient, and work with them to understand how best each patient can maximize their remaining vision to regain their independence and enjoy those things again. While not every task is achievable for every patient, for the vast majority of low vision patients, more can be done. A low vision optometrist works with patients that have vision loss resulting from conditions such as macular degeneration, ocular albinism, strokes, retinitis pigmentosa, or glaucoma. They assess and guide the patient on the best strategies and low vision devices to improve their functional vision. Whether it is magnification, glare and color contrast, visual field loss, or other aspects of vision loss, the low vision optometrist has the tools and expertise to help each patient get the most out of their vision.

My Ophthalmologist said that nothing more can be done

From a medical point of view, in most cases there is nothing more that can be done to regain vision loss from disease. However the reason why a low vision optometrist will say “there is more that can be done” is due to the difference between an optometrist or an ophthalmologist and a low vision optometrist. An ophthalmologist or optometrist may be monitoring you for whatever condition you have, or maybe actively treating a condition as needed. With a low vision optometrist, the difference is going to be that you're really starting to look at specific goals. Once they understand your vision loss and the visual goals of the patient, they will start to help the patient and their family understand what options are available to help them achieve those goals. They are going to start looking at things like optical devices, or electronic devices that may assist with the ability to see standard print, things like filters that might assist with glare sensitivity, or any kind of other non optical devices to meet your goals.

Schedule with eye doctors for a low vision evaluation at our leading optometry clinic in Hixson, serving patients from the surrounding areas including Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley. Call (423) 321-8233 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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