|What is Low Vision?
Low vision is a visual impairment that occurs due to an ocular disease that eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery cannot correct.
|What causes Low Vision?
According to the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness for Americans under 60 years of age. This accounts for 12% of new cases of blindness each year (24,000 people). Diabetics are 25 times more at risk for blindness than the general population. Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of severe visual impairment in older Americans. Approximately 1.7 million have decreased vision and 100,000 are blind from the disease. By the year 2020, 2.95 million Americans will have this disease. Many other eye diseases may lead to low vision, including Glaucoma, Cataract, Retinitis Pigmentosa and other genetic diseases.
What can our Low Vision Clinic do for you?
Many people with low vision have been told that nothing can be done for them. This is not true. There are many low vision devices, resources and support groups available. If you suffer from vision loss, you may be an excellent candidate for low vision therapy. A Low Vision Evaluation is necessary to fit you with devices to help you see and do the things you've been missing. The evaluation consists of pinpointing the exact areas in which the patient is having difficulty with their daily activities, thoroughly checking the glasses prescription with special reading charts, and then determining the appropriate low vision magnifying aid or device for each task. Though we cannot bring back the vision that has been lost, Dr. Beisel will work to teach you to use the vision you have remaining.
How do I get a Low Vision Evaluation?
If you have low vision, ask your eye doctor to refer you to Michiana Eye Center & Facial Plastic Surgery for a Low Vision Evaluation. The best news is that Medicare pays for your evaluation. However, glasses and low vision devices are not covered.
|Low Vision Devices|
|Examples of Low Vision Devices
Michiana Eye Center & Facial Plastic Surgery offers a wide variety of Low Vision Devices. Most importantly, we carry all of them at each location for you to try. We carry products made by both Eschenbach and Telesensory, both of which are leaders in the industry. Hand-Held Magnifiers - These are the most common low vision devices, often known as "magnifying glasses." They come in many shapes and sizes and range in power and size. These magnifiers are available as pocket magnifiers that fold up, and battery powered lighted magnifiers.
Stand Magnifiers - These are magnifiers mounted on a stand that sit flat on the reading material and can be moved across the page to see each line of print. They also range in power and size and usually contain a bright light to illuminate the reading material.
Absorptive Filters - These can be worn over regular prescription glasses, and regulate the wavelengths of light that enter the eye. They eliminate harmful Ultraviolet rays and glare, while increasing contrast and helping with the transition between light and dark surroundings. They can be worn both indoors and outdoors.
Video-Magnifiers (Closed Circuit Television Systems) - A video magnifier uses a video camera focused on the reading material and projects the image onto a video screen, such as a TV. These are invaluable to patients with severe vision loss due to the high range of magnification and large reading area. These can be used for reading, writing, taking care of bills, documents and checks, looking at photographs, or doing crafts. Video magnifiers are available in black and white or full color. Some units use an enclosed TV while others are portable and can be used with any TV. We have several units in stock for you to work with and over 12 models are available.
Telescopes - Telescopes are used for seeing things at a distance. They can be binocular (focused for both eyes) or monocular (for use with only one eye). These can be hand held, ground into your glasses, or worn over your own spectacles.
High Powered Reading Glasses - These are glasses prescribed specifically for reading. They have very high-powered magnifying lenses in both eyes or one eye depending on the patient's vision. The higher power requires the patient to hold the reading material closer to the eye than normal. They also contain prisms to help the eyes focus together.
Other Adaptive Devices - There is a wide range of adaptive devices available to make daily activities easier for people with low vision. These devices include talking watches and alarm clocks, large print phones, check writing guides, large-print playing cards, computer magnifying screens and many more.
|Low Vision Resources|
|There are many local and national resources that offer large print materials, books on tape and other low vision services to assist people in their daily lives. Click on the following link for a complete list :
Organizations and Resources For Visually Impaired Patients
Libraries: Talking Books programs, large print publications, and magnification devices can be found at nearly all public libraries.
Library of Congress Special Services Division - Elkhart Public Library (downtown) is the Regional Center for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Fill out the application provided by your Doctor to receive free talking book service as well as specially designed playback equipment.
Banks: Nearly all banks offer large print checks.
Bank One: At no extra charge, Relationship Bankers are available to read and explain appropriate materials to customers or to conduct financial transactions. Alternate formats including large print, audiocassette or computer disc can be provided by calling 877-226-5663. Call 877-241-8665 for information on talking ATM's.
Vocational Rehabilitation: People who are visually impaired and are attempting to find work, this program can help counsel and provide funding to further opportunities in the workplace. (221 W. Wayne, South Bend : 574-232-4861)
SBC : (1-800-742-8771) Provides large print bills by simply calling to request this service. Based on visual disability, SBC will also provide operator service free of charge. Customer must call to request a form which must be signed by the doctor.
Long Distance Carriers: AT&T Long Distance Customer Service (800-222-0300), Sprint (888-78805001), Verizon Wireless (800-974-6006) Bills can be provided in large print.
Advocacy/Consumer Groups: (800-326-9190)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Indiana. Provides public education about blindness, information, literature, and support.
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS). Protects and promotes the rights of individuals with disabilities.
ACB Radio (e-mail : email@example.com website : http://www.acbradio.org). Webcasting service where you can listen to programs on your computer.
Descriptive Video Service (DVS Home Video)
317-579-0439 : customer service/order videos
800-333-1203 : automated service providing list of videos
888-818-1181 : large print catalog
Variety of services are offered to make TV and movies accessible including videos containing auditory narration of action or visual elements.
National Federation of the Blind Newsline
410-659-9314 : to subscribe, 888-882-1629 for information
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www/nfb.org
Enables those who cannot read convention print to have access to newspapers. By entering and ID number and security code, the user can make selections over the phone, and they are read to the user, who is also able to modify the spped and voice quality. User must fill out a simple application
Public Transit Systems:
Amtrak (800-872-7245) offers rail fare discounts for passengers with disabilities. Recipient must provide written documentation of disability at ticket counter (letter from doctor is sufficient).
Greyhound (800-752-4841) - Call 48 hours in advance of trip to request assistance with boarding/unboarding coaches and purchasing tickets. Sighted guides traveling with legally blind customers can receive a 50% discount on their ticket.
Home Instead Senior Care - 245 W. Edison Rd.
Suite 230, Mishawaka
Elkhart/Marshall Co. 1-866-500-1479
South Bend/Mishawaka 574-256-1479
This service enables the elderly to live independently with the help and company of non-medical care givers.
Comfort Keepers: 6910 N. Main St. Suite 15B Unit 47
This services provides in-home companionship care, errand service, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, incidental transportation, daily TLC phone calls, laundry, recreational activities, grooming, and mail organization.
Meals on Wheels: home delivered meals for those over 60 years old in St Joseph County. Call Real Services for more information : 574-233-8205
Large Print Resources:
American Bible Society (800-322-4253) : bibles and selected portions of scriptures
American Printing House for the Blind (800-223-1839) : large print or cassette textbooks and reading materials for grades 2-12
Associated Services for the Blind (215-627-0600) : Textbooks and other materials
Aurora Ministries Bible Alliance (941-748-3031) : free bibles on cassette tape - available in several languages
Betty Crocker Food and Nutrition Center - General Mills (800-328-6787) : Cookbooks and meal planners
Doubleday Large Print Home Library (800-688-4442) : Current bestsellers, mysteries, and biographies
Reader's Digest Large-Type Publications (800-877-5293) : condensed books and the monthly general interest magazine
The New York Times Large Type Weekly (800-631-2580) weekly newspaper covering national events McMillan Library / Simon & Schuster (800-257-5157) : biographies, mysteries, romances, westerns, adult fiction and nonfiction
Books on Tape, Inc. (800-626-3333) : rental program of full length books
Bible Alliance (941-748-3031) : Recorded scriptures in 40 languages available.
Transaction Large Print (888-999-6778) : Large print catalog offers large print book selection
Choice Magazine Listening, Dept. TM (516-883-8280 : free service provided 6 time per year - free audiotapes of unabridged selection sof articles, short stories and poetry from the New Yorker, Time and Sports Illustrated.
|Tips for Living with Low Vision|
|From the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired