You Can Do Low vision
Charlie Saccarelli - September, 2020
New Heights in Low Vision: 3 Steps that YOU Can Take to Address Low Vision Challenges
Want to hear a sad truth? Roughly 5.7% of Canadian adults suffer from visual impairment. And, the reality is that many of these patients will not get access to simple, life-changing devices that can address their vision needs.
Why? Because eye doctors and opticians are trained to rely on glasses to remedy visual problems.
But what happens when a patient’s visual acuity cannot be corrected with glasses? Low vision.
As you can imagine, life pretty much sucks for these patients because their visual impairment prevents them from partaking in the activities they enjoy like driving, reading, watching tv, knitting, cooking, playing parcheesi, and studying the delicate features of their grandchildren’s faces.
And that’s not all. While we’re doling out misery, here’s another sad truth: many opticians falsely believe that they are not qualified to help low vision patients and that low vision care is restricted only to doctors and other eyecare specialists.
As I shall demonstrate in this article, this is simply not the case.
Okay, enough of the sad feels. Let’s move onto something positive. What’s the good news in the aforementioned scenario?
That’s right. You are the good news here because, as an optician, you already have the knowledge and skills to help low vision patients improve their quality of life. You just need the right process to help patients address low vision challenges.
The Low Vision Process: 3 Steps for Helping Patients Today
The good news for low vision patients is that you’ve read this far, which indicates a willingness on your part to help them. You rock.
In my not-so-humble opinion, the most important prerequisite to helping low vision patients is actually, you know, caring about them. Somebody who cares about his or her patients will be far more likely to aggressively pursue the best solutions for their needs.
So congrats - you’ve already surmounted the biggest obstacle to treating low vision patients.
Let’s take a look at what steps you’ll need to take to help you translate your care for these patients to actual real-world results.
Step 1: Arriving at the Right Assessment
This probably goes without saying, but I’m going to say it: you can’t fix a problem until you know its scope. This means that you need an accurate assessment of the patient’s visual acuity before you can determine which devices will best serve her.
Remember that resource center I mentioned? We’ve put together everything you need for assessing your patients’ vision and finding the best solution for their needs. We've even linked to it here so you don't have to spend 0.21 milliseconds finding the page.
Step 2: Identifying the Patient’s Goals
Okay, so you know Aunt Sally’s visual acuity, but do you know what she wants to do with her soon-to-be improved vision? Does she want to drive, stalk birds, knit a sofa for her cat (that’s a thing, apparently), or swoon over reruns of Dr. Phil?
Knowing what activities of daily living (ADLs) your patients want to improve will help you determine the best devices to meet their needs.
Step 3: Selecting the Right Devices
Once you know the patient’s visual acuity and his or her goals, you can select appropriate devices to meet those goals.
Some factors to consider include: what type of task the patient is doing (near or far), whether a hand-held or hands-free device is best, if better lighting is needed, and how different tints may improve vision.
We’ve got some great resources on this site to help you determine the best devices for your patients.
Go Ahead and Check Us Out
Hopefully this article has given you a few valuable takeaways. Now’s the part where I get to peddle my wares. But these are no ordinary wares - these are wares that will help improve your patients’ quality of life.
And we’re no ordinary company. We think it’s more important to help people find the best solution than it is to pilfer Grandpa Frank’s pension money for subpar products (hint: Amazon).
So, we’ve made it super easy to find the best device for your patient. How?
I’m super stoked that you asked.
For starters, our resource center contains printable charts, guides to help you measure near and far acuity, calculators to help you determine the magnification needed, and device recommendations. For FREE.
We’ve also organized our product suite by power, device type, lighting, glare, and assessment kits - making it super easy to find the right device for you and your patients.
So check out our resource center or feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions.
(Seriously, I love to nerd out over opticianry. Join me. Please.)