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Rehab Is Key for Persons with Low Vision, Macular Degeneration
By Erica A. Hacker, O.D.

Erica A. Hacker, O.D.Incredible progress has been made in the treatment of macular degeneration in the past few years. Injections for exudative, or wet, macular degeneration are preventing the devastating vision loss that used to accompany this eye disease. But central vision is still distorted, dim or blurry, affecting the ability to read and see details. What can be done for people with reduced vision? Low vision rehabilitation is the answer.

Low vision rehabilitation uses special lenses, magnifiers, tools and techniques to maximize a person's vision so they can do the things they used to do. Maintaining independence is important to everyone and can be a challenge with vision loss. Low vision rehabilitation allows people to read the newspaper, prescription bottles and write checks. Adaptations for cooking and working around the house enable a person with macular degeneration to remain safe in their home.

Low vision rehabilitation programs provide a specially trained optometrist who performs a comprehensive exam to determine a person's level of vision, and then prescribes optical aids designed to maximize remaining eyesight. Quality programs also provide an occupational therapist who teaches how to most effectively use the devices.

Anne, an 87 year old with macular degeneration, learned to use special glasses to write her checks and uses a magnifier to teach her Sunday school class. As Anne said, "I am so hopeful now that I've come here."

"Here" is Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, located near the Waterfront shopping area at 1800 West St., Homestead. For 101 years, BVRS has been a leader in programs and services for people of all ages who are blind, vision impaired or who have other disabilities. Our mission over the years has been to provide the training people need to become as independent as possible.

For more information, call (412) 368-4400 or visit www.blindvr.org.

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