There are many people with low vision in my region and I would like to set up a low vision service. How should I start?

There are many areas in the world where there is not enough of a low-vision service to serve all the people that need help. By low vision, I mean poor eyesight that cannot be corrected with spectacles, contact lenses, or medical treatment. Some people with low vision can be helped with magnifiers and/or telescopes and other non-optical devices.

At a recent seminar on low vision that I attended as a panel member, the Panel decided that in order to improve low vision services education was the key.

The national and/or regional government needs to be educated about the need for a sustainable and accessible low vision service. This will help improve quality of life and also allow people to enter or remain in employment thereby helping the local and national economy. Government may also need to provide financial support for people with low incomes to be able to access low vision services and to be able to afford any required low vision devices.

Eye specialists need to be educated in how to conduct low vision assessments and provide devices to rehabilitation. Many eye specialist courses do include tuition on low vision but often this is not enough. An example of a course on how to set up a low vision service can be found at https://eyetools.co.uk/

People need to be educated on what low vision is and that there are devices that may help them. Patients with low vision are sometimes told that nothing further can be done to improve their eyesight. This may be true in terms of medical treatment but there is often something that can be done through good use of magnifiers, telescopes, and non-optical devices especially localised lighting.

As with many things, with good education, a great deal can be achieved.

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