What is low vision?

Low vision refers to a vision impairment that is not correctable with standard eyeglasses, contact lenses or through use of surgery or medication.

What is low vision care?

Low vision care is the evaluation and management of a low vision patient by an eye care and vision rehabilitation professional. Based on an individual assessment with specialized testing, aids and services will be discussed to overcome the lifestyle impact of the vision impairment.

What should I expect from a low vision exam?

Each low vision exam runs approximately 2-3 hours and includes three components:

First, we assess the patient’s level of independence and ability to perform a variety of activities of daily living (ADLs). We will refer the patient for one or more services depending on his or her individual needs. We also perform a thorough review of the patient’s medical history and visual function questionnaires.

Second, we perform a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s vision, including a functional evaluation of both central and peripheral visual field and the degree of contrast impairment. Depending on the findings, we will provide one or more specialized optical prescriptions that maximize the patient’s functional vision without utilizing magnification. These optical prescriptions may include specialty optical filters and lens designs optimized for low vision patients. We will determine the patient’s optical prescription using an alternate refraction technique that is customized for each patient.

Last, we recommend one of our many hundreds of low vision devices depending on the individual patient’s needs. Our office has a wide variety of low vision devices available to trial in office. We also evaluate the patient for dry eye treatment or perform a sensorimotor evaluation depending on the patient’s needs. 

While not every patient will report a significant visual improvement, many patients report an improvement in their vision through this process. At the end of the initial evaluation, a comprehensive report is generated. This report may be used to obtain accommodations through an employer, to establish eligibility for SSDI or long-term disability coverage, or may be used to receive financial assistance paying for visual assist devices or eyeglasses through Texas Workforce Commission. We can also perform a visual assessment for driving eligibility.

Each low vision patient is unique due to differences in their visual field losses, contrast impairment, acuity losses, and their visual goals. Even two patients with the same eye condition may have a very different clinical presentation and different visual needs. It is therefore necessary to perform a comprehensive assessment before we can recommend products or services for a given patient.

We ask each low vision patient to fax us the medical records from their last dilated eye exam or bring the records with them to an initial low vision evaluation. If the patient has not seen a specialist within the last year, we may ask for the patient to seek out the care of a specialist prior to the low vision exam.

We help patients attain independence and improved quality of life by leveraging new technologies, low vision devices, and various services. We also offer genetic testing, a limited selection of specialty contact lenses, and dry eye treatment. 

Vision rehabilitation is provided in collaboration with The Rehab Firm, and behavioral health services are provided through The Lighthouse of Houston.

Which low vision conditions do we manage?
(in partnership with an outside eye care specialist)

The following is not meant to be an exhaustive list and only proves a sample of eye conditions we frequently encounter.
  • Albinism
  • Aniridia
  • Cataracts (non-operable)
  • Colobomas
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dry Eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Hemifield or sector defects, visual neglect (post-Stroke or TBI)
  • Hereditary Optic Neuropathies (LHON, etc.)
  • Ischemic Optic Neuropathies (NAION, AAION)
  • Keratoconus/Corneal Ectasias
  • Macular Degeneration (AMD, etc.)
  • Myopic Degeneration
  • Nystagmus
  • Optic Atrophy (ADOA, NMOSD, MS)
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Stargardt Disease
  • Uveitis