The Academy's Initiative in Vision Rehabilitation
The Academy urges you to help your patients with low vision make the most of their remaining vision with SmartSight™, an initiative to assist your patients who have visual acuities less than 20/40 or scotomas, field loss or contrast loss. Helping these patients with low vision can be as simple as handing them the important materials listed here. SmartSight™ materials are available for both you and your patients.
Referring low-vision patients to vision rehabilitation services connects them with services that lessen the impact of their vision loss, and improves their independence and quality of life. Joseph Fontenot, MD, Chair of the Academy’s Vision Rehabilitation committee, led the production of the following six-minute video, titled “There is Something Else You Can Do.” Introduced by David W. Parke II, MD, Academy CEO, this video emphasizes the impact of vision loss on the individual and the responsibility of the ophthalmologist to refer or provide vision rehabilitation. With advances in technology, modern vision rehabilitation can help most patients with any degree of vision loss. Provision of, or referral to, vision rehabilitation is now the standard of care for all who experience vision loss.
Materials for Patients
This handout is for you to give to your patients with low vision. It provides essential tips for making the most of remaining vision and offers a list of resources where patients can locate local vision rehabilitation services using the "Help Near You" directory (if you do not have services or a referral system in place).
Materials for Ophthalmologists
- SmartSight™ Levels 1 & 2 (PDF 46K). Level 1 calls on all ophthalmologists to recognize patients with low vision and share a copy of the SmartSight™ patient materials. Please instruct and encourage patients to read and act on it. Level 2 encourages all general ophthalmologists to add a few easy steps when examining SmartSight™ patients. These steps are the four “R’s of Rehabilitation”: Record – Refract – Rx – Report.
- Ophthalmologists can also use this sample letter (Word 21K) to make PCPs aware of a patient’s vision loss and the possibility of Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
- Medicare reimburses for a low vision evaluation by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
If you have questions about the vision rehabilitation or the SmartSight™ program, contact the Academy via e-mail. Bringing Vision to the WorldTM
American Foundation for the Blind
The VisionAware ™ website provides information about living with vision loss, including home adaptations, products, blogs, and connections to local services.
Note Regarding Reimbursement for Occupational Therapy Services
Medicare and most insurers will reimburse for vision rehabilitation provide by Occupational Therapists.