FAQ’s – What is a low vision evaluation?

Surprise!  That word can at times create a lot of anxiety and stress.  In our day to day life surprises are not generally looked favorably on.  Knowing what is coming and what to expect can help alleviate a lot of worry. 

If you have macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy your local Optometrist may recommend you have a low vision evaluation.  When this is recommended you may ask: What is a low vision evaluation?  What should I expect to happen?  To reduce the anxiety and uncertainty about a low vision evaluation lets discuss these questions.

What is the purpose of a low vision evaluation?
A low vision evaluation is designed to help you effectively use your remaining functional vision. 

What does a low vision evaluation involve?

  • A history of your overall health and that of your family, your vision and any changes, and of your low vision and when it began.
  • An examination of the external and internal parts of the eye. 
  • A visual acuity test, a specialized eye chart test.
  • An Amsler grid test to check for macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
  • And testing to determine peripheral vision (field of view), contrast sensitivity, color vision, and depth perception.

Questions for you and your doctor.

Before you arrive for your appointment with the doctor, you may want to write down a list of questions you have for your doctor.  You will also want to be prepared to answer your doctor’s questions as well.

For you to ask your doctor –

  • What is the name of my eye disease/condition/disorder and is it stable?
  • What has caused this and is it hereditary, should my family be tested?
  • What aids or devices would assist me in using my remaining vision?
  • Are there any services available, low vision support groups, or rehab offices that I can connect with?
  • Do I need to give up driving or can I still continue to do it safely? If it is no longer safe, are there public transportation services available for those with low vision?
  • How can I safely remain active and independent?  Do you have a recommendation for an Orientation and Mobility Specialist?

For your doctor to ask you –

  • What size of print are you comfortable reading? For example, can you read the newspaper print or only the headlines?
  • Are you able to see to pay your bills, balance your checkbook, and read your mail?
  • Do you enjoy reading your Bible, novels, and articles in magazines?  Are you still able to see to read these?
  • Are chores and household activities becoming difficult because of your vision? 
  • Do you feel safe enough to drive your own vehicle?
  • Does the brightness and glare from the sun or bright lights bother you?
  • Are you employed or attending classes?  Does your vision loss affect these activities?  What accommodations have you made to continue?

Remaining independent, active, and in control of your life is of the utmost importance.  This will help you continue to enjoy life and make important decisions.  Learning more about eye health and what to expect will help remove some of the stress and worry you are facing. 

Additional Resources and Sources:
What Is a Low Vision Examination? – Vision Aware
The Low Vision Examination – LowVision.org

Oct 28, 2019

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