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
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