National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment (NTAC-BVI)

NTAC-BVI
Mississippi State University

Information about Low Vision

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There are some types of eye conditions that cannot be corrected with standard eye glasses. Many times patients with these types of conditions are not aware of Low Vision Technology. Through Low Vision Clinics a patient can find prescriptive magnification aids that can enhance existing vision. These aids may include a handheld or stand magnifier, a monocular, a special pair of glasses or an attachment to glasses or perhaps even a closed circuit television system. Costs of these aids may vary from a few dollars to several thousand. Sometimes vision can be enhanced by special lights or reading stands. Initially the use of these aids may be rather difficult or troublesome to the users, but with training and practice, a whole new world can open up. An altavista search reveals over 8,000 references including clinics, producers of products, distributors and basic information. If you are looking for a low vision clinic near you, please refer to the list of State Vocational Rehabilitation Programs on this database. They will have information about clinics in your area. If you are looking for specific aids, there are several mail order catalog companies listed here that can assist you. If you have never used aids, it is recommended that you go through a clinic so that you can get the aids that are especially right for you. There are many different kinds of aids.

There is a lot of variety in magnifiers. The larger the magnifier, usually the less powerful. Those inexpensive ones bought in drug stores and variety stores are usually not very powerful and may have some distortion that can cause eye fatigue. Generally, the more powerful a magnifier, the smaller the area viewed. For someone needing a reading aid, this may mean that with a really powerful magnifier, he/she may only see a few letters in a word. With less power, the reader can still see the whole word.

There is a career specialty in vision-related rehabilitation. Certification is through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education. These professionals work with optometrists and ophthalmologists to provide support to persons learning to use low vision aids.

Some states have passed laws allowing individuals with corrected vision between 20/70 and 20/200 to obtain driver's licenses. Laws vary from state to state and usually require extensive training and some restrictions. Training is in the areas of low vision and driver's education. This practice is sometimes referred to as Bioptic Driving. Bioptics are long distance aids that attach to the glasses and allow a driver to see further down the road. Not all low vision drivers require bioptics, but special techniques are essential to safe driving. Training can be expensive and not all persons are good candidates. Links appear below.

General Information and Resources

Blindness Resource Center - Low Vision Resources
URL: http://www.nyise.org/lowvision.htm

The Center for the Partially Sighted
URL: http://www.low-vision.org

Computer Access/Low Vision Computer Resources
URL: http://www.ntac.blind.msstate.edu/information-and-resources/lvcr/

Lighthouse International
URL: http://www.lighthouseguild.org/

Low Vision Gateway
URL: http://www.lowvision.org

Low Vision Resource List (NFB)
URL: http://www.nei.nih.gov/index.asp

VisionAware
URL: http://www.visionaware.org

Bioptic Driving

Albinism and Driving - Consideration in Deciding whether or NOT to Drive
URL: http://www.albinism.org/publications/driving.html

BiOptic Driving Network
URL: http://www.biopticdriving.org

Driving and Low Vision
URL: http://lowvision.org/driving_issues_and_visual_impair.htm

Information about Bioptic Driving
URL: http://www.eyeassociates.com/bioptic.htm

Companies Selling Low Vision Products

Enhanced Vision
URL: http://www.enhancedvision.com/

Independent Living Aids
URL: http://www.independentliving.com/

L S & S Group: Specializing in Products for the Visually Impaired
URL: http://www.lssgroup.com/

MaxiAids Independent Living Aids for Home and Work
URL: http://www.maxiaids.com/

Books and Information

Of special interest to consumers:

  • Coping With Low Vision (Coping With Aging Series)
    by Marshall E. Flax, Bette L. McCaulley, Don J. Golembiewski

  • Living With Low Vision : A Resource Guide for People With Sight Loss (5th Ed)
    Paperback / Published 1998

  • Foundations of Low Vision : Clinical and Functional Perspectives
    Anne Lesley Corn(Editor), Alan J. Koenig (Editor) / Hardcover / Published 1996

  • Living With Vision Loss : Independence, Driving and Low Vision Solutions
    Gottlieb, et al / Paperback / Published 1998

  • Low Vision : A Resource Guide With Adaptations for Students With Visual Impairments
    Nancy Levak, et al / Hardcover / Published 1994

Of Special Interest to Eye Care Professionals:

  • The Art and Practice of Low Vision
    by Paul B. Freeman, Randall T. Jose, Randy Jose

  • Understanding Low Vision
    Randall T. Jose(Editor) / Hardcover / Published 1983

  • Low Vision in Optometric Practice
    Christine Dickinson / Paperback / Published 1998

  • Primary Low Vision Care
    Rodney W. Nowakowski / Hardcover / Published 1994

  • Essentials of Low Vision Practice
    Richard L. Brilliant(Editor) / Hardcover / Published 1998

  • Foundations of Low Vision : Clinical and Functional Perspectives
    Anne Lesley Corn(Editor), Alan J. Koenig (Editor) / Hardcover / Published 1996

  • Living With Low Vision : A Resource Guide for People With Sight Loss (5th Ed)
    Paperback / Published 1998

  • Living With Vision Loss : Independence, Driving and Low Vision Solutions
    Gottlieb, et al / Paperback / Published 1998

  • Low Vision : A Resource Guide With Adaptations for Students With Visual Impairments
    Nancy Levak, et al / Hardcover / Published 1994

  • Low Vision : Reflections of the Past Issues for the Future
    Jane N. Erin, et al / Paperback / Published 1993

  • Low Vision Care
    Allyn C. Uniacke / Hardcover / Published 1997

  • The Low Vision Handbook (Basic Bookshelf for Eye Care Professionals)
    Barbara Brown / Paperback / Published 1997

NRTC

Address:
P. O. Box 6189
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Phone:
662-325-2001
800-675-7782

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Funded by:
Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Grant #H133B10022.
GRANT 90RT5040-01-00