Online Program

Low vision rehabilitation—maintaining independence and quality of life

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

John McInerney Jr., MA, Strategic Communications and Marketing, ICF International, Rockville, MD
Neyal J. Ammary-Risch, MPH, MCHES, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Vision loss is becoming a major public health concern in the United States. Approximately 2.9 million Americans age 40 and over are blind or have low vision, a visual impairment not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. Low vision can have an impact on a person's physical and mental health, leading to an increased risk of falls and to feelings of depression, frustration, helplessness, and disbelief. Low vision can also impact a person's social interactions and their ability to navigate the environment. While vision that has been lost usually cannot be restored, vision rehabilitation services can help people with low vision make the most of their remaining vision. Participants attending this session will learn about the benefits of vision rehabilitation and the importance of referring patients to a specialist in low vision. This specialist is the cornerstone of a team that includes occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, certified low vision therapists, assistive technology trainers, counselors, and social workers. Participants will learn the role these diverse team members play in helping patients to regain or maintain their independence by teaching skills and strategies for traveling safely, taking care of a home, meeting career objectives, and enjoying leisure activities. In addition, participants will learn about new resources from the National Eye Health Education Program of the National Eye Institute, designed to educate people with low vision and their friends and families about vision rehabilitation and to encourage professionals to refer patients with low vision to a specialist.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain how vision impairment and low vision can impact a person’s physical and mental health, social interactions, and ability to navigate his or her environment. Identify vision rehabilitation services and devices that can help people experiencing vision loss regain or maintain their independence and quality of life. Explain the role of the specialist in low vision in the continuum of care and the importance of referring patients with low vision to a specialist.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with the National Eye Institute to develop a booklet and video designed to educate consumers and professionals about vision rehabilitation services. I have also worked to promote the availability of these services to consumers and professionals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.