Assistant Professor, Director of the Pediatric Inherited Retinal Degeneration Clinic, Co-Director Ocular Genetics Program
The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences is proud to announce the availability of Low Vision Services at our University Station location. We provide services to enhance/improve visual function with magnifiers, telescopes, electronic devices, lighting and contrast.
Our services include a low vision evaluation with Sanbrita Mondal, OD, with recommendations for low vision aids and various resources for living your best life with low vision.
Medicare generally covers the examination portion, but not the cost of purchasing the aids or a refraction for spectacles. For patients with commercial insurance or Medicaid we recommend that they check with their carrier for examination coverage. We are working with our coding coordinator to determine what will be and not be covered.
We will provide limited in office training on recommended low vision aids. For this reason, we work closely with the low vision therapist from the Wisconsin Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Madison (wcblind.org) to train patients on devices, eccentric fixation, scanning, tracking and other rehabilitation services needed. The Council is equipped with a training room and loaners for patients to use in home and real life situations prior to purchasing. As this type of service is not covered by Medicare or other insurances, there will be a small upfront fee. We do not sell low vision aids, but they may be purchased through the Wisconsin Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired, or other sources.
For the pediatric population who need vision training, please continue to send them to Vision Forward or similar organizations to ensure proper age-appropriate initial and subsequent guidance. This request is due to time and space constraints at our clinic. We are able to provide updated prescriptions for spectacles and magnification devices currently used. At present, we have the capacity to evaluate patients 12 years of age and older.
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Best corrected visual acuity of 20/60 or less in the better seeing eye.
Deteriorating or permanently damaged vision that glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medical treatment will not improve.
Issues of difficulty reading, writing, distance/television viewing, shopping, recognizing faces, etc.
Motivated with a support system, and willing to dedicate their time and energy to learn how to expand vision function and capacity to improve quality of life.
As you consider a patient for low vision referral, we request that you factor in the patient’s outlook on realistic expectations and mood. If they are depressed or in denial, they may not be ready for a low vision evaluation. We encourage you to talk to your patients regarding Low Vision Services and that “something can be done” to help them regain some independence and perform activities that they miss.
We encourage you to refer patients in the early stages of their disease to help make the transition to low vision aids easier. As the disease progresses, we will work closely with the patient to modify the devices needed to help their functional vision. We will typically recommend multiple aids (optical and non-optical) to help them with their visual goals.
When you have a motivated candidate for a low vision evaluation, please contact Sanbrita Mondal, OD, or Linda K. Jorgensen, by the Health Link in basket system for an appointment. We will not perform pupillary dilations of these patients and will perform low vision refractions only. These examinations will take about 2 hours – including the time for training. We request that the patient have a recent dilated eye exam and a current refraction prescription on file. This will allow us to efficiently address specific visual goals with various aids, and minimize the number of visits. After the appointment has been arranged, we will mail a packet which includes information describing the examination process. The packet will also include an extensive questionnaire on activities of daily living to complete prior to the appointment. This will allow us to preemptively prepare and make better use of the clinic time to achieve patient goals, such as direction to resources for orientation and mobility training.
After the evaluation, we will send a detailed report to the referring provider regarding the patient’s progress/ outcome. We will follow-up with patients via telephone or office visits depending on the complexity of their visual needs. We will encourage all patients to continue their ophthalmic care with the appropriate provider as recommended.
We have low vision aids available through Eschenbach. However, we encourage patients to use other products on the market. We hope in the future to have an in-house low vision therapist for increased patient convenience. We look forward to working with you to help patients utilize their vision to full potential, and obtain the best care from our department.