What to expect from a low vision exam

Many people do see immediate gains during their first low vision appointment. Family
members are often very encouraged by how their family member can read. This is not always
the case, though. With the help of a low vision professional, people with a visual impairment
can be able to read a short amount of material from the newspaper during their appointment.
Then, after returning home, the person realizes that what was accomplished for a short period
during the appointment cannot be sustained at home. This realization can be discouraging, and
some people want to give up. It is important to recognize that this is a rehabilitation process
which requires practice. It is true that overcoming vision loss can be a slow process. It is also
valuable to be kind to yourself. Give yourself encouragement instead of frustration.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. If one or two devices have been recommended for you and
some are not working for you, go back to the low vision clinic and try other options. Do not
stick a device in a drawer and forget about it-give the low vision center a second or third try to
help make it right for you. Keep an open mind; learn about the entire range of devices. There
are new low vision products being developed all the time, so try to learn what new devices can
help you. Centers have clear return policies that give you a chance to learn how a particular
device can work for you in your home.

Remember, practice, practice, and practice! The more you use the devices, the more you will
get out of them.

You may find that you are angry or depressed about your vision loss, or about being dependant
on devices that identify you as a visually impaired person. This is normal.
Consider discussing these feelings with a social worker, case manager or therapist.

As an eye disease progresses, the decrease in vision may progress and you find that devices
that have worked for years no longer work. You may need stronger devices or completely different ones. It is important to follow up with your low vision doctor on a yearly basis to see if there are new devices that will better fit your needs.

Clinics in Worcester and Holyoke: (508) 854-0700 or (888) 613-2777 • Eastern Mass: (617) 926-4232

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