What is low vision?
Living with low vision can make daily tasks difficult. If you have low vision, your sight may not be improved by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Common causes include a number of health issues, including diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, as well as birth defects and eye injuries. While most common in patients over 65, low vision can affect any age.
How is a low vision exam different than a regular eye exam?
Low vision exams are longer than a traditional eye exam - usually an hour or more. A large part of the exam revolves around talking about vision issues that are occurring and a patient's vision goals. An extensive vision test is also performed to determine if a regular prescription could help, or if special low vision tools will provide the vision help that's needed.
Does low vision make it difficult to see colors?
When living with low vision, determining different colors can be difficult.
In addition to making it difficult to do daily activities like picking out clothing, colors are often used to mark hazardous areas or important areas of documents.
If you are able to read this:
you may not have a low vision issue.
If you are unable to read this:
you may have a low vision issue.
How do I make an appointment?
There are several ways to make an appointment. If you are not referred to us (by your eye doctor, the Veterans Administration Medical Center or the Department for the Blind & Vision Impaired) you may simply call to schedule your own appointment. Call 804-545-9435 to set up an appointment.
What do I bring to my appointment?
Any glasses, magnifiers, or any magnifying device that you use (whether it works well for you or not). Also, you will need to bring your health insurance cards and a list of your medications.
Will my insurance cover the cost of my visit?
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, pay their usual and customary reimbursements for your eye examination with our Low Vision Optometrist, and evaluation and management with our Occupational Therapist, if you are visually impaired. **Referrals are not needed for most insurance companies (including Medicare) however HMO plans (i.e., Anthem HealthKeepers) require referrals prior to your appointment.
Will my insurance pay for any devices that I need to help my vision?
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, do not pay for your devices - even if you are legally blind. Depending on your history and financial capability, we may work with the HH McGuire Veteran's Medical Center, local Lions Clubs, and the state-run Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired agency for appropriate devices.
I am having difficulty doing my job, can you help?
Yes. Did you know that the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) provide you safeguards if you are visually impaired? Consult the Department of Justice (DOJ) for specific information regarding ADA. In general, the ADA allows provisions for employers to make reasonable accommodations to meet your vision needs relative to your work or job. This may include providing you with necessary magnifiers, software, or other devices that allow you to perform your job tasks. We can help explain the process and determine what equipment would be most necessary for you at work.
What kind of eye problems can you help?
Most of our patients have age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, or glaucoma. However, we see many patients with rod-cone dystrophy, aniridia, achromatopsia, optic atrophy, cornea disease and many other eye diseases. We also see patients with high refractive errors and ABI/TBI. Additionally, we help individuals with neurological conditions such as stroke and acquired brain injury.
What age of patients do you help?
We help patients of all ages, from school-aged to 100 years+. Regardless of your age or eye condition, we will evaluate you to determine what aids will be helpful to your quality of life.
How many visits will I need?
Your initial visit is usually with our optometrist and occupational therapist. Follow up visits will be scheduled as needed.