Vision Rehabilitation Services
The following are different vision rehabilitation services you can access in addition to the information and help you will receive from your ophthalmologist or optometrist.
- Communication skills: These help you with reading, writing and assistive computer technology. In some cases you may even want to learn braille.
- Counseling: This can be beneficial, not only to you, but and family and/or friends that want to better understand or help you with your vision loss.
- Independent living skills: These skills can be a simple as learning how to cook safely, take care of your personal appearance, manage your finances, keep exercising, or enjoy hobbies. The people that come to your home to help you keep your independent may also suggest home modifications to make life easier and help ensure your safety.
- Independent movement and travel skills: These skills are important not only to help with your independence, but also to keep you from isolating yourself. Isolation is a common problem with vision loss as you may not want people to know you are losing your vision, or you are afraid of falling or embarrassing yourself. However, isolation can lead to depression.
- Low vision evaluations and training: There are a variety of hand-held and desktop magnifiers, special reading glasses, lighting sources and other devices that help you make the most of your remaining vision.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Loss of vision does not necessarily mean you can no longer work. Vocational evaluation and training, along with job modification and restructuring, can keep you enjoying the work you have enjoyed and depend on.
Vision Rehabilitation Service Providers
When looking for vision rehabilitation services, what should you know? You are best looking for a specially trained person including low vision therapists, vision rehabilitation therapists, and orientation and mobility specialists. They each have completed a standardized certification process that will let them help guide you as you work toward your vision goals.
- Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVTs): These therapists work with you to use your remaining vision with various devices and assistive technology. They also help you determine what modification you might need at home or work to remain independent and safe.
- Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRTs): These therapists teach special adaptive skills that will allow you to confidently carry out a range of daily activities.
- Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS or O&Ms): These specialists teach skills that help you navigate safely and confidently when you are home, in the community or traveling far from home. This can include the use of a cane, GPS devices or public transportation. They also include guide dog instructors, but this training is more intense and takes place at a guide dog facility for several days.
To remain active and independent may require learning new skills, but it is important to find the right person to help you learn those skills. By finding the best person to suit your needs, the process can be a fun and positive experience.
Susan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation