As part of our commitment to providing excellent eye care to our community, Eyesite provides Low Vision consultation exams and Vision and Spatial Awareness Therapy (VSAT) relating to low vision. VSAT can help people of all ages with vision loss learn to rehabilitate their vision in order to lead independent and productive lives. During the process, patients and family members will discover the right optical and vision related aids particular to the patient's specific needs as well as offering resource information and answering questions.
What is Low Vision?
The American Optometric Association has defined Low Vision as a person who's visual acuity (sharpness of vision) in the better eye cannot be corrected to 20/30 by conventional treatments such as standard eye glasses, contact lenses, surgery or medicine. This decrease in vision can also be due to a decrease in contrast sensitivity (the ability to distinguish between finer increments of light vs. dark), photophobia (extreme light sensitivity), diplopia (double vision) or visual distortions (e.g. waves or tilting). A person is also visually impaired based on visual field loss (loss of vision in peripheral or side vision). A person with low vision has a visual impairment which was usually caused by either birth defects, disease or trauma.
Some of the leading causes of Low Vision in adults are damage from glaucoma, diabetes or hypertension, and age related macular degeneration. Low Vision can also occur following head or eye trauma and stroke.
Some examples of the effects of the damage from these diseases on vision are seen below:
Children may be born with conditions that affect the eye and vision from birth such as retinopathy of prematurity, albinism, nystagmus, rod cone dystrophy, etc. as well as conditions that may get progressively worse, such as retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes type 1, macular dystrophies, etc.
These eye diseases can cause loss of ability to see detail in straight ahead fine vision (visual acuity) and/or side or peripheral vision (visual field). Other aspects of vision can be impacted such as the loss of ability to see single images comfortably (resulting in double vision) or the inability to distinguish between shades of objects causing a person to have problems judging distances or heights (contrast sensitivity), or an unusual amount of light sensitivity (photophobia).
These losses to vision can cause the inability to do tasks that requires detailed vision such as reading standard size or fine print (even with glasses), writing, walking confidently (causing you to bump and trip into things), travelling, driving, working or perform hobbies. They can cause you to be depressed, withdrawn and unable to enjoy life.
However, visual impairment does not mean total vision loss and often there is still a large amount of functional vision that can be utilized to allow Low Vision individuals to live full and productive lives.
With Low Vision rehabilitation, we cannot cure or recover lost vision, but we seek to maximize a person's vision allowing them a better quality of life.
Call us to schedule an exam and let us help you get answers and the tools you need to get back to living a better life.
Call our Katy office at (281) 644-2010 and ask about appointments for Low Vision exams. Our staff will ask a few questions and get some information regarding cause or reason for visual impairment, duration of condition and experience with Low Vision rehabilitation.
What is Low Vision Rehabilitation?
Our optometric Low Vision specialist will perform a specialized Low Vision eye exam that will discover the extent of damage to your vision system as well as identify the areas of remaining vision that can be redirected, retrained and fully utilized in a way that works for your vision needs. This Vision and Spatial Awareness Therapy (VSAT) can involve:
- being prescribed the appropriate optical devices such as high powered eye glasses, customized contact lenses, prisms, magnifiers, telescopes, etc.
- being prescribed the appropriate electronic assistive devices that can strategically magnify print text, near or distance object details.
- recommendations on proper lighting and non-optical aids such as markers, sound indicators, object positioning etc. which can help low vision individuals make adaptations to their home, work or social environments to improve navigating them.
Our optometric Low Vision specialist works directly with the Low Vision patient every step of the way not only in the initial evaluation and prescription, but in making sure the patient understands what has happened to their vision, what to expect going forward and how to properly use their new devices/aides.
Training on the use of the devices/aides is necessary because the Low Vision patient does not have full use of vision and may still be adjusting to the tremendous impact on their lives that vision loss can cause. Even for a full sighted person, how to use these devices is not always self-evident. As a result, it is even more challenging for an individual with vision loss. However, with a positive attitude, clear visual and life goals, and guidance and care from our office, these aides can be mastered and soon become welcome tools.
We do not think about how much we rely on our vision for even the simplest of tasks because with full visual ability, it is not necessary to be conscious of it. It is only when our vision is lost that we realize its complexity and feel the need to ask for help.
Dr. Dorothy Win-Hall graduated from the University of Houston, College of Optometry (UHCO) in 2001 and went on to complete a residency in Low Vision Rehabilitation at UHCO in 2002 under the tutelage and guidance of Dr. Randall Jose and Dr. Stanley Woo. During her residency, Dr. Win-Hall completed rotations at the Center for Sight Enhancement at UHCO, Baylor ophthalmology and TIRR (working with traumatic brain injury patients). Following residency, Dr. Win-Hall was a staff optometrist and Director of the Low Vision Department at the Hermann Eye Center (currently renamed the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic). Subsequently, she was recruited for clinical research by Dr. Adrian Glasser, Ph.D at UHCO and returned to take part in deciphering the complexities of the accommodative (focusing ability of the eye) processes and changes in the eye as it ages. She joined Eyesite in December 2015 performing family eye care and contact lens exams and is excited to bring her skills as a low vision specialist to the Katy area.