Low Vision Assessments

There are a number of conditions where with glasses alone, the patient’s eyesight may not be able to reach it’s optimum. ln cases like these, further treatment may not be appropriate, for example with advanced macula degeneration or corneal scarring. Quite often these are patients who are either registered as sight impaired, but this is not always the case.

For these patients, vision can often be improved by specialist magnifiers, and hence the patient can continue to enjoy some tasks and hobbies that they previously may have been struggling with.

The Low Vision Assessment is separate to an eye exam, and usually follows on a few days later but can be done at any point after a recent eye exam. The patient can be referred by a medical practitioner or can self refer. They will be given a questionnaire (in large print) on booking, about what specific tasks they are struggling with the most, and this helps us to identify specific areas where we can focus on trying to improve quality of life.

It usually consists of three parts:

1 – Discussing lifestyle and often small changes that the patient can make around the home, including for example advice on lighting, contrast, raised bumps on dials, level indicators, large print books, and newer technological devices to help in everyday life.

2 – Trying different powers and different types of magnifiers/ telescopes to see if with or without glasses they can help the patient. These low vision aids will hopefully enable them to improve their ability to do the tasks they are struggling with, and the patient will also be given a chance to experience and be shown how to use these magnifiers to their full potential.

3- The patient will also be signposted or referred for additional support or help with adaptations if appropriate, eg to the Wirral council visual impairment Team, or for registration of sight impairment. Every patient who attends a Low vision Assessment at The Eyeworks is usually offered a Patient Resource Pack, with useful leaflets and a list of resources which includes contacts for helpful local and national charities and support agencies, talking newspapers, social groups, contacts for the local hospital eye clinic liaison officer and local council support.

These services are free under the local scheme as long as the patient has a Wirral GP, and can often make quite a significant difference to a person with reduced vision. A lot of the magnifiers are free under the scheme and we can also show what other devices are available privately.