Dr. John Shepherd Delivers Poignant Low Vision Presentations

On Friday, May 31, John Shepherd, MD, assistant professor and director of the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, presented “Recognizing and Addressing Depression in the Low Vision Patient” at the DOVS Grand Rounds and Low Vision Lunch and Learn Sessions.

Sanbrita Mondal, OD, director of the DOVS Low Vision Clinic and co-director of the DOVS partnership with the Lighthouse Guild Vision Rehabilitation Network, introduced Dr. Shepherd at each session. Trained as a comprehensive ophthalmologist, Dr. Shepherd worked in private practice in Minnesota from 1994 – 2005. After experiencing personal health issues, he realized that his low vision patients might be facing challenges that paralleled his own experience with chronic pain. Filled with a new passion, he pursued a fellowship in the low vision field in 2006. In his current role, Dr. Shepherd has developed rehabilitation plans for over 5,000 low vision patients and speaks nationally on low vision rehab topics including depression relating to irreversible vision loss.

Dr. Shepherd referenced a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology in 2018, “Rehabilitation Referral for Patients with Irreversible Vision Impairment Seen in a Public Safety-Net Eye Clinic.” That study concluded that there is a “need to better educate ophthalmologists and residents in ophthalmology about referrals to low vision rehabilitation services for patients with irreversible vision impairment.”1

“I think we evaluate and examine the macula well, we prescribe vitamins and mineral supplements to slow progression down. We inject medications appropriately for wet macular degeneration; however, as ophthalmologists and as eye care providers, I don’t think we do nearly as good of a job at recognizing and addressing the impairment the patient behind the macula and the struggles that our patients are having doing their favorite activities and the frustration and even the depression that can result from this,” dr. shepherd noted.

Click the video below to view the presentation in its entirety.

The Low Vision Lunch and Learn sessions were created as part of an important partnership with The Lighthouse Guild, a nationally renowned, non-profit vision and healthcare organization based in Manhattan, New York. The partnership provides financial support and educational resources to university ophthalmology departments.

The Low Vision Lunch and Learn sessions build awareness within our own department and clinics about the visually impaired, how to interact with the visually impaired in our clinics, and what low vision services are available in our community. Upcoming low vision educational events will be announced in early 2019.



1Coker, MA et al. Rehabilitation Referral for Patients with Irreversible Vision Impairment Seen in a Public Safety-Net Eye Clinic. JAMA Ophthalmology 2018; 136(4): 400-408.