For your patients with a visual impairment, it can be hard to do everyday activities like driving or reading. Millions of people in the United States are living with a visual impairment, and their condition can’t be fixed with glasses, contacts, or other standard treatments like medicine or surgery.
The good news is that you can help people with a visual impairment get vision rehabilitation services. Vision rehabilitation can help people with any type of visual impairment make the most of the vision they have and improve their quality of life.
Vision rehabilitation at a glance
- Includes a range of services and many levels of support
- Can help people with a visual impairment maintain their independence and improve their quality of life
- May involve a team of providers — including eye care professionals, low vision and vision rehabilitation therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, counselors, and social workers
Getting diagnosed with an eye disease or condition that causes a visual impairment can be overwhelming — and people may not know where to start when it comes to accessing vision rehabilitation services. That’s why it’s important to share information about vision rehabilitation services and how to access them.
Link to Vision Rehabilitation Services
Health care providers play an important role in helping people with a visual impairment get vision rehabilitation services. You can follow these 3 steps to link your patients to the vision rehabilitation services that are right for them.
Step 1: Identify your network of vision rehabilitation service providers. Some government and private organizations publish lists of vision rehabilitation service providers organized by category or state. These include:
- VisionAware's Directory of Services (organized by category)search by state
- Rehabilitation Services Administration's State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Directory
- American Optometric Association’s Eye Doctor Directory — you can “refine your search” by selecting “low vision” and/or “vision rehabilitation”
- American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Ophthalmologist Directory
You can use these lists to find vision rehabilitation services providers in your area and nationwide.
Step 2: Talk to your patients about their needs and goals for living with their visual impairment. This will help you decide together what kinds of vision rehabilitation services will improve your patients’ quality of life and help them maintain their independence.
There are many types of vision rehabilitation services. They include:
- Employment and job training
- Assistive products, like lighting and reading stands
- Technology, like magnifiers and screen readers
- Daily living and independent living skills trainings
- Emotional support, like counseling or support groups
- Transportation and household services
Step 3: Refer your patients to appropriate vision rehabilitation services. Getting diagnosed with an eye disease or condition that causes a visual impairment can feel overwhelming for patients, and they may not know how to find vision rehabilitation services on their own. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that eye care professionals refer their patients to vision rehabilitation services.
Browse NEHEP resources
Use our educational resources to spread the word that vision rehabilitation can improve quality of life for people with a visual impairment.
Use resources from our partners
NEHEP partners with organizations that focus on supporting people with a visual impairment. You can share:
- American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Resources for People with Low Vision
- American Optometric Association’s Vision Rehabilitation Resources
- Hadley’s Daily Living Workshops, including a series on cooking safely with a visual impairment available in English and Spanish
- Lighthouse Guild’s Tele-Support Groups
- Prevent Blindness’ Resources for Living Well with Low Vision
- The Vision Council’s Low Vision Resources
Hand out articles and fact sheets
Our articles and fact sheets make it easy to spread the word about vision rehabilitation. You can share them online or print them for people in your community.
Share infocards and infographics
These short, easy-to-understand materials give high-level overviews of visual impairment and vision rehabilitation. Print them out to hang in common areas in your practice or post them on your website and social media channels.
Check out videos about visual impairment
Use our videos to help people learn about living with a visual impairment and related eye conditions.
Be part of Low Vision Awareness Month in February
Join people across the country to raise awareness about low vision and vision rehabilitation!
Work with the media
Partnering with local newspapers, radio stations, or TV networks is a powerful way to reach people in your community. We have tips and ready-to-use articles that make it easy.