Ivey Eye Institute: Low Vision Clinic

Make the most of your existing sight: low vision services

Vision loss that cannot be corrected by ordinary glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery is called "Low Vision". Low vision services do not restore lost vision but rather utilize the remaining vision to its fullest potential. Low Vision Services include a functional eye examination and an evaluation of how your remaining vision functions in day-to-day living.

The low vision exam evaluates not only how well you see an eye chart, but also how well you see faces, street signs, newspaper print, and all the other visual clues that guide you through the day. Afterward, low vision devices will be prescribed based on your specific needs and interests so you can continue to read and function as well as possible, and continue to enjoy hobbies and recreational activities. As part of our services, we will also teach you how to use these devices correctly so you can successfully integrate them into your daily routine.

Signs of low vision:

  • Difficulty recognizing a familiar face
  • Difficulty reading: print appears broken or distorted
  • Difficulty seeing objects and potential obstacles such as steps, curbs, walls and furniture
  • Loss of visual acuity or sharpness
  • Loss of peripheral/side vision
  • Extreme difficulty with light or glare

Common causes of low vision:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Stroke
  • Corneal degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Brain tumors, brain injuries
  • Optic atrophy
  • Albinism
  • Inoperable cataract

Assistive Devices Program

Depending on the visual function of your eyes, the cost of low vision devices prescribed at the Low Vision Clinic may be partially funded by the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. However, the low vision examination fees are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

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