Living with Low Vision
People with impaired vision that cannot be reversed by glasses, medication or surgery may still be able to keep their independence with low-vision rehabilitation. With early and appropriate rehabilitation, most adults with low vision can continue to live in their own homes; many even continue to live alone.
People who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and advanced cataracts are often good candidates for low-vision rehabilitation.
First, the patient's doctor should refer them to MidMichigan for low vision therapy. Then an occupational therapist will perform an initial assessment to determine how the low vision is affecting the patient’s daily life. The initial assessment considers factors such as:
- Contrast sensitivity
- Color appreciation
- Field of vision
- Effects of glare
Individualized treatment plans can help patients build visual skills, develop new ways to perform daily activities and adjust psychologically to reduced vision. Customized plans may include:
- Learning about the disease and how to manage it
- Modifying tasks, such as placing dark-colored objects against a light-colored background, eliminating glare or painting dials a brighter color
- Using low-vision aids, such as magnifiers, special lighting or talking watches
- Improving visual skills, through exercises such as fixation (training to focus eyes on an object), tracking (practice moving eyes to follow an object) and learning to recognize and adapt to a scotoma or blind spot
- Joining a local vision support group, such as the Midland County Council on Aging’s Low-Vision Support Group
Treatment plans may need adjustment as the disease progresses. Our experts often recommend ongoing assessments.
Costs, Insurance and Referrals
Physician referrals are required. Ask your doctor for a referral to MidMichigan's low vision rehabilitation program.
This service may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance. If you have questions about coverage, your insurance carrier or employer's benefits department is the best source of information.
Low-vision evaluations and treatment are available in: