Can You Consider Occupational Therapy for Low Vision?

The purpose of your eyes is to capture visible light from the surroundings and send it to your brain. Your brain then turns them into images. That’s the way you pursue things through your eyes. It’s true that your brain does not have any sensory capabilities of its own. It takes the senses from your eyes to collect information and present it in the form of images. 

This means everyone solely relies on vision to pursue things in their surroundings. Be it driving, watching TV, reading, or playing the piano, your vision plays an integral role. Declining vision, irrespective of the cause, may, thus, be frustrating for every individual. Your regular tasks that used to be simple become complex with low vision.

This is where the discussion of this post comes in. Low-vision occupational therapy helps adults and children alike combat the impairment and deal with daily activities seamlessly. From adapting chores to teaching visual techniques, OT does it all. Let’s find out more about this topic through the following explanation.

Introducing You to the Concept of OT for Low Vision

Now, what do you exactly mean by low vision? Simply put, it is a visual deficit that cannot be fixed with standard treatments like surgery, medications, contact lenses or glasses. Occupational therapy aims to improve the quality of life of these people and improving their functional independence. 

Poor vision may result from various issues. The ones that cannot be corrected with glasses, surgery, or contacts can be considered for OT. There are times when individuals have faced such vision issues. These problems aren’t blindness, but the limited sight makes it difficult for people to get clear pictures. They might include the following:

  • Poor night vision
  • Blurry sight
  • Blind spots and more

Diabetes, glaucoma, and age-based macular degeneration may result in low vision. 

What Does Low Vision OT Include?

The prime objective of occupational therapists is to help individuals overcome their limitations to offer an independent lifestyle. Occupational therapy for adults and children with vision impairment maximizes their skills. The therapist first suggests changes to the workplace and home through training and adaptive equipment. The following are the ways an occupational therapist can improve vision:

Vision Training and Assessment 

The foundation step to improving vision issues through occupational therapy is understanding vision loss. So, the OT first conducts an assessment and assesses your vision impairment and its impact on regular activities. The therapist may use tests to evaluate visual acuity, visual field, and contrast sensitivity. The recommended vision training techniques depend on their assessment. 

Adaptive Technology and Equipment Used

In occupational therapy, individuals who experience low vision issues need specific equipment to improve vision. So, the therapist then introduces a range of tools to make regular tasks simpler, which may include the following:

  • Magnifiers
  • Electronic reading devices
  • Handheld telescopes 
  • Screen readers

With the above equipment, they assist you in improving your vision based on your budget and needs.

Modification with Lighting

Lighting plays a serious role in enhancing vision. Your occupational therapist evaluates your work and home environment and then recommends lighting improvements that maximize your visibility. The professional may recommend installing brighter lights with task lighting for special activities. Alternatively, they may also ask you to adjust light contrasts to enhance your vision.

Improving the Surroundings

At times, certain alterations made in your surroundings can make a huge difference. The OT may suggest modifications such as rearranging furniture or using contrasting colors on floors and walls. The expert may also ask you to place labels on certain objects to make them easily identified. 

Training that Improves Your Daily Lifestyle

Your OT ensures that you perform the daily tasks effectively and safely, whether playing the piano, reading books, or cooking. The proficient expert trains you about innovative techniques that break down the complexities associated with daily activities. You will be taught about small steps to practice them and confidently improve your vision.

Training to Improve Mobility 

No doubt, low vision may impact your mobility. That means it hinders your ability to move from one place to another. With an OT beside you, you can quickly learn about mobility skills. That may involve learning specific walking techniques, using the white cane, or even familiarizing myself with public transport.

When Should You Consider Occupational Therapy for Low Vision?

Low vision may bring a whole range of challenges into your life. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the things you like. OTs specialize in techniques to improve low vision. So, if no other vision treatment works, you must consider OT. Below are some issues for which OT offers the best solution:

AMD or Age-Related Macular Degeneration 

It’s a common eye ailment that affects central vision. This makes it difficult to read, recognize faces, and drive. An OT may use magnifiers and other electronic reading tools to improve your vision. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes may result in blind spots and blurred vision, thereby causing vision loss. The therapist helps individuals by adapting to changing vision. The expert can also support your emotional health.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma might result in damage to your optic nerve. This results in gradual vision loss. The therapist helps maximize the vision by recommending certain techniques. In addition, the professional also teaches you certain walking techniques. 

Post-Surgery Vision Issues

Cataract surgery may bring specific difficulties in individuals’ lives with vision problems. The OT understands your needs and improves blurry vision. Your OT also adjusts to the changes and recommends specific techniques to improve your new vision.

Childhood Visual Issues

Low vision also affects a kid’s ability to play, socialize, and, most importantly, learn. The OT can assist children in developing skills. The expert may recommend adapted toys and games that improve their learning abilities in spite of their visual limitations. Besides, the professional collaborates with parents and teachers to plan unique strategies to ensure the child learns and grows. One can also consider occupational therapy after encountering an accident that disturbs regular living.

Wrap up

Living with low vision should never limit one’s abilities. The right support from a seasoned occupational therapist can improve vision and help one enjoy life.

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    Can You Consider Occupational Therapy for Low Vision?