Low vision is a condition in which a person loses part of their vision—most often due to an eye disease or trauma. People with low vision may also be called visually impaired or, sometimes, legally blind. The most common causes of low vision are degenerative eye diseases: macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and others. For the most part, these eye diseases affect older people, though other diseases and trauma can cause low vision in children and younger adults.

Low-vision with cataracts vs normal vision.

Low vision should not be confused as blindness. People with low vision may be told they are legally blind, and, in turn, may confuse this term with blindness. People with low vision still have usable vision, which they can be taught to use effectively, and are not blind. People who are completely blind compose less than 10-percent of the visually-impaired population.

Comparing how a person with normal vision views a scene versus a person with diabetic retinopathy.

Ensight offers numerous programs to assist those with low vision including visual aids, visual rehabilitation, assistive and adaptive technology, Orientation and Mobility Training, and client support.

Low-Vision Aids

Low-vision aids are like tools in a tool box: just as a carpenter needs a hammer, screwdriver, and pliers to complete different tasks, someone who is visually impaired will need a number of low-vision devices to perform various activities. A handheld magnifier may work great to read a menu, but not as well to read a book since you may tire of holding it in your hands. In that case, a stand magnifier, or pair of high-powered spectacles, would work much better. Typically, patients find success in maximizing their remaining vision with three to five different low-vision aids. Our staff works with you to find the right device as well as offers training and support on these aids.

Visual Rehabilitation

Vision rehabilitation is the process of treatment that helps individuals who are visually disabled attain maximum function, sense of well-being, satisfying level of independence, and optimum quality of life. Function is maximized by evaluation, diagnosis and treatment including, but not limited to, the prescription of optical, non-optical, electronic and/or other treatments, and development of an individual rehabilitation plan specifying clinical therapy and/or instruction in compensatory approaches.

Assistive Technology & Adaptive Technology

Assistive technology refers to “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

Adaptive Technology is “any object or system that is specifically designed for the purpose of increasing or maintaining the capabilities of people with disabilities.”

Orientation and Mobility

Orientation and mobility is an exciting discipline in low-vision and blind rehabilitation that teaches people to travel safely, efficiently and independently in their environment.

Orientation is the process of mentally organizing the environment and determining one’s location within that environment.

Mobility is the act of moving through the environment in a safe and graceful manner.

An orientation and mobility specialist teaches people who are blind or visually impaired to travel by:

  • Assessing an individual’s current travel-related skills, discussing goals, and helping the individual select a program of instruction that will allow for achieving the greatest travel potential.
  • Teaching an individual to travel by using his/her hearing, remaining vision, and other senses.
  • Teaching an individual to use a long cane for travel and to establish and maintain orientation while traveling.

Comparing how a person with normal vision sees versus a person with glaucoma.

Client Support

The Ensight Skills Center and the Curtis Strong Center for the visually impaired follow the highest standards in customer support and care. Our knowledgeable staff works with you to find the right tools, training, and resources. We are always happy to answer questions and walk you through our rehab program, which includes billing questions and the costs of devices and services.

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