How do I know when to get an eye exam?

Visit your eye care professional regularly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. However, if you notice changes to your eyes or eyesight, visit your eye care professional right away!

Meet Erin, Joma, Lawrence, and Ruth

Erin, Joma, Lawrence, and Ruth all have vision loss, but available technology has helped them make use of their remaining vision. Now they can continue enjoying life and their everyday activities.

What can I do if I have low vision?

To cope with vision loss, you must first have an excellent support team. This team should include you, your primary eye care professional, and an optometrist or ophthalmologist specializing in low vision.

Occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, certified low vision therapists, counselors, and social workers are also available to help.

Together, the low vision team can help you make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your independence.

Second, talk with your eye care professional about your vision problems. Even though it may be difficult, ask for help. Find out where you can get more information about support services and adaptive devices. Also, find out which services and devices are best for you and which will give you the most independence. Remember, Erin, Joma, Lawrence, and Ruth each had different types of vision loss, but they all talked with their eye care professional and are now living fulfilling and independent lives.

Third, ask about vision rehabilitation, even if your eye care professional says that “nothing more can be done for your vision.”

Vision rehabilitation programs offer a wide range of services, including training for magnifying and adaptive devices, ways to complete daily living skills safely and independently, guidance on modifying your home, and information on where to locate resources and support to help you cope with your vision loss.

Medicare may cover part or all of a patient’s occupational therapy, but the therapy must be ordered by a doctor and provided by a Medicare-approved healthcare provider. To see if you are eligible for Medicare-funded occupational therapy, call 1800MEDICARE or 18006334227.

Finally, be persistent. Remember that you are your best healthcare advocate. Explore your options, learn as much as you can, and keep asking questions about vision rehabilitation. In fact, write down questions to ask your doctor before your exam, and bring along a notepad to jot down answers.

There are many resources to help people with low vision, and many of these programs, devices, and technologies can help you maintain your normal, everyday way of life.

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