By the American Academy of Ophthalmology Preferred Practice Pattern Vision Rehabilitation Committee: Joseph L. Fontenot, MD,1 Mark D. Bona, MD,2 Mona A. Kaleem, MD,3 William M. McLaughlin, Jr., DO,4 Terry L. Schwartz, MD,5 John D. Shepherd, MD,6 Mary Lou Jackson, MD7
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1 Community Services for Vision Rehabilitation, Inc, Mobile, Alabama
2 Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
3 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
4 Lehigh Eye Specialists, Allentown, Pennsylvania
5 Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
6 Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska
7 Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia School of Medicine, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
HIGHLIGHTED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CARE
Ophthalmologists are encouraged to provide rehabilitation resource information to patients who have vision loss. Even early or moderate vision loss may result in disability, which can affect visual performance, cause anxiety, and interfere with everyday activities. The ophthalmologist should refer patients for multidisciplinary comprehensive vision rehabilitation services when available. There is evidence that vision rehabilitation improves reading and visual ability.
All ophthalmologists should advise patients who have central field loss that their peripheral intact retina can be used, with magnification, when central vision is lost.
Ophthalmologists who subspecialize in providing vision rehabilitation should aim to optimize patients’ reading, activities of daily living, safety, participation in their community despite vision loss, and psychosocial well-being. Vision rehabilitation should not only include device recommendations but also address the broader impact of vision loss on patients’ lives.
Keys to successful vision rehabilitation are the interest and the skills to empathize, communicate with sensitivity, and convey hope to patients with vision loss.