Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired Title

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Low Vision Clinic


What is Low Vision?
Low vision is the condition of having reduced vision that is not correctable by normal means such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Common causes of low vision are macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes and other eye diseases.

Low vision may happen at any stage of life from newborns to retirees. Low vision is not total blindness, although the low vision patient may be labeled as “blind” by people around them.

What is Legal Blindness?
To be legally blind a person must have lost vision to the level of 20/200 or worse with their best eyeglasses or contact lenses or they must have a visual field (peripheral vision) loss to 20 degrees or less. Legal blindness often causes a severe restriction of daily activities such as reading the newspaper, watching television or preparing a meal.

People with vision impairments who are not legally blind may still suffer from these same life-altering problems. If your vision is less than 20/40 you cannot legally drive a car in Idaho.

What is Low Vision Rehabilitation?
Many people with low vision complain of loss of independence and self-worth. There is now hope! Low vision rehabilitation is the process of training the person with a visual impairment to make use of their remaining vision to perform those tasks which are often thought to be lost forever.

What are Low Vision Aids?
The use of specialized devices such as magnifiers, telescopes, or stronger reading glasses allow many patients to return to daily activities like reading their mail or the newspaper and watching their favorite TV show. There are even video magnifiers that attach to a TV set to give large amounts of magnification for tasks like school work or signing checks.

What is the Low Vision Clinic?
The Low Vision Clinic at the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 341 West Washington Street, Boise, Idaho, is where you receive low vision rehabilitation.

Dr. Hansen and his staff are trained in the latest techniques to help you return to activities of life that you have missed since your vision loss. It may be as simple as training a person with macular degeneration to look slightly to the side when talking with someone to see their face or it may be more complex, such as a bioptic telescope to return to legal driving.

Your initial low vision rehabilitation evaluation will take approximately two hours. It is important to know that low vision rehabilitation is a continuous process and what works for you today may not work for you in six months. This will depend on the stability of your eye condition. Most importantly, remember that low vision rehabilitation will not restore your sight but will help you to understand your eye condition and use your remaining sight to its fullest potential.

Don’t forget to bring any eyeglasses or magnifiers that you are currently using to the evaluation. Dr. Hansen and the staff at ICBVI look forward to seeing you for your low vision rehabilitation. 

For more information, contact Sandra Marquis, Low Vision Clinic Office Manager, at (208) 334-3220, extension 316 or email at smarquis@icbvi.idaho.gov
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