Low vision occurs when a person has difficulty seeing and the vision is not correctable with glasses, contact lenses, surgery or medical treatment. Effects of low vision can be blur, loss of contrast, blind spots, light sensitivity, night blindness, or loss of peripheral vision.
In May of 2016, the clinic was renamed Judith A. Read Low Vision Services in memory of Judy Read, a longtime friend and former chairperson of the UDS Board of Directors. Mrs. Read’s dedication to the low vision clinic over the years has enhanced the lives of many individuals living with visual impairments in Northeast Ohio.
Common causes of low vision:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Optic nerve hypoplasia
- Eye injury
- Birth defects
Low Vision Services Assessment
- Identification of the patient’s visual needs. This depends on age, interests, vocational goals and other factors.
- Education of the patient regarding their vision. It may include an explanation of the eye disease, how it affects function and why regular eyeglasses may not help. Sometimes teaching a person to find the “sweet spot” in their vision, how to scan, or where to position the material can help.
- Determine the best low vision aid for the task. Lighting, magnification, filters, adaptive technology or non-optical aids may be useful. In almost all cases, the patient needs more than one device to address their needs.
- Learn how to use the aid. It takes proper instruction and practice to learn to use low vision aids efficiently.
Low Vision Services can help an individual to use his/her remaining vision more effectively through:
- Utilizing magnifiers and telescopes
- Telescopic and microscopic glasses
- Specialty tinted lenses
- Video magnifiers
- Computer software (that magnifies)
- Training in new techniques and equipment
Other beneficial aids and services may include:
- Talking devices
- Speech output computer software
What About Driving?
Some individuals who have a visual impairment may be able to continue driving through the Northern Ohio Bioptic Driving Program. Low Vision Services has collaborated with Edwin Shaw Rehab to develop a program to evaluate individuals, assess and fit bioptic telescope glasses, and train individuals to drive using telescopic glasses.
Not everyone with a visual impairment is a candidate for the program. Individuals must meet specific vision requirements and also pass a challenging and comprehensive test administered by an Ohio driver’s license examiner.
Children who are visually impaired need specialized services, adaptive equipment and accommodations in order to develop and achieve their fullest potential. Toddlers and children may benefit from and be eligible for the following services:
- Low Vision Assessment
- Teachers certified to work with students with visual impairments (TVI)
- Low vision aids
- Assistive technology