How do I get started?
What is Low Vision Care?
Low Vision care focuses on how patients function in their day to day lives. Our doctors help maximize your remaining vision (although it won’t restore lost eyesight).
It incorporates the use of certain viewing techniques and optical/non-optical “Low Vision Aids” that can help individuals who are visually impaired.
What is Low Vision Assessment?
Low Vision Assessment focuses on how patients function in their day to day life. Our doctors and low vision practitioners help maximize their remaining vision (although it won’t restore lost eyesight).
It incorporates the use of certain viewing techniques and optical/non-optical “Low Vision Aids” that can help individuals who are visually impaired. They help their patients perform their daily activities despite a visual impairment so that they can enjoy life and remain independent.
Calgary Low Vision Clinic does not take the place of your current Optometrists or Ophthalmologists. We will work in conjunction with your eye doctor to maximize your remaining vision.
When you come to “Calgary Low Vision Clinic” for appointment, please download and answer questionnaire. Please bring this questionnaire with examples and current magnifiers if you have any.
How is a Low Vision Assessment different?
A low vision assessment is quite different from a regular eye examination usually lasting one hour or more. It is a “vision and function” examination; therefore medical tests such as dilation are usually omitted.
Part One: preparing stage
To prepare you for your first visit, we will give you an informative letter and questionnaire to help you identify your visual goals.
Please bring any eyeglasses, magnifiers or other products that you are currently using. These will greatly assist our staff in putting together a management plan just for you!
Part Two: Build a“Wish List”
One of the most important parts of the low vision assessment is speaking with the patient to find out how reduced vision is affecting their life. A “wish list” is created so the doctor understands what the patient’s goals are.
Part Three: Extensive Vision Testing
Low Vision Practitioner will perform an extensive vision testing. We use low vision eye charts rather than the regular eye chart to measure level of vision. Careful reading and distance visual acuity assessment are performed to find out the best optical low vision devices for each patient.
Part Four: Select the best Low Vision Devices
Part four works with magnification, illumination and other optical and non-optical low vision devices. The doctor must determine the best form and level of magnification needed for the patients to perform the desired tasks. Different style of magnifiers, telescope glasses, prismatic glasses and the new electronic Digital Magnifiers, CCTVs are presented to the patient. Illumination levels must be determined as lighting plays a major role in vision.
Why you need 2 Macular Degeneration Specialists?
Understand that you are dealing with two issues: the medical condition causing vision-loss and the vision-loss itself.
With macular degeneration, you need a medical specialist called a “Retina Specialist” because the macula is part of the retina. The retina specialist will have the most extensive experience in monitoring and treating the medical condition.
HOWEVER, regarding vision options, it is VERY important to know that the doctors who are treating your medical condition are usually not your best source of information regarding your vision. You must also investigate options for your vision.
A retina specialist is a medical doctor – an ophthalmologist who has done extra fellowship training in retinal diseases for one or two years after completing his residency in ophthalmology.
The Retina Fellowship includes an intensive one or two year full time program treating patients with retina problems and learning how to perform office based surgeries like laser and intraocular injections as well as hospital based surgery like vitrectomy
Low Vision Specialist
Another macular degeneration specialist to have on your team is a low vision specialist. They are Doctors of Optometry or Low Vision Optician, who are skilled in the examination, treatment and management of patients with eye conditions that are not treatable or correctable by medicine, surgery or with glasses.
This health professional will assist the patient in:
- Determining what low vision optical devices are best for them
- How better lighting can help them see better
- Finding eye specialists with the right credentials is just one aspect of finding the right doctor for you. You may need to get a second or third opinion, before you find a doctor that meets your needs.
Amsler Grid to test Macular Degeneration
The Amsler Grid is used to test the Macula Degeneration possibility. The test is simply a grid made of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines. A small dot is located in the center of the grid for fixation. Simply follow the instructions below the grid.
While focusing on the dot in the center of the grid, with one eye covered, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I able to see the corners and sides of the square?
- Do I see any wavy lines?
- Are there any holes or missing areas?
If the lines of grid do not look straight or areas appear to be missing and or distorted, you should inform a retinal specialist.