Hope & Understanding for Patients With Vision Loss
Individuals with vision loss can lead full, productive lives. However, when first faced with the reality of vision loss, life can seem overwhelming. Patients may often react with denial, anger, fear, grief, hurt, rejection, abandonment, and/or the fear of these things. Without guidance, in many cases there is a great potential for isolation, depression, and dependence. This can be a trying time for the family as well as the patient, so early interventions can make a critical difference.
In an effort to support patients and their families through this process, the Moran Eye Center provides integrated services to patients with vision loss called the Patient Support Program-unique in this region and now modeled worldwide.
Moran's Patient Support Program offers comprehensive services, including the following:
- Orientation to Vision Loss Seminar (at no cost) - We host a monthly, two-hour seminar for visually impaired individuals and their families. Topics include hints and tips to work with your condition and resources that can help you.
- Vision Rehabilitation - Dr. Robert Christiansen offers vision rehabilitation to improve functional ability through the evaluation of decreased vision or visual field, contrast sensitivity, lighting needs, and glare or photophobia. By appointment.
- Counseling (Individual & Family) - Our experienced professionals provide individual or family counseling by appointment. Counseling gives our patients with new or ongoing vision loss an opportunity to better understand and deal with the emotional response to vision loss, to address psychological issues, and to be encouraged and supported through the adjustment process.
- Health & Behavior Assessment & Intervention - Through a health-focused clinical assessment, we evaluate health, behavioral, and social factors affecting patients' well-being. We then develop a treatment plan based on intervention strategies designed to help patients towards better understanding and managing the disease processes.
- Support & Education Groups - These groups give our patients opportunities to share experiences with others in the same situation and to receive information and encouragement. They can also provide hands-on training for living with vision loss.
- Referrals - We provide patients with referrals to the excellent services offered by many local agencies that assist the blind.
Occupational Therapy - Janice Moushegian, MS, OTR/L, CLVT, provides in-home assessments and helps patients function safely and independently in their own homes. By appointment.
“The human being is born with an incurable capacity for making the best of things.”
- Helen Keller
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my vision loss qualify me for Social Security Disability?
You can get disability benefits if you are legally blind or if your vision problems prevent you from working. Legal blindness is when your vision cannot be corrected better than 20/200 or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye.
Can I still drive?
Each state has its own rules on driving. In Utah, you must have visual acuity of 20/40 for an unrestricted driver’s license; a restricted driver’s license can be obtained if you have visual acuity of 20/100 and if you have a vision statement form signed by your ophthalmologist or optometrist.
What resources are available to help me to see better?
There are many assistive devices available. Which device is helpful really depends on the cause of your visual impairment. Assistive devices include the following:
- Magnifiers of varying strength and type
- CCTVs (closed circuit television—electronic desktop magnifiers)
- Prismatic Glasses—magnifying reading
- Bioptic telescope
There are also simple changes you can make around your home to improve contrast.
How do I get a guide dog?
There are several guide-dog training schools in the United States; however, there are none in Utah. The first step is to be certified in cane travel. Virtually all guide-dog schools require this as a prerequisite. Schools require that the blind person must travel to the school where they will be matched with a dog and trained to handle their dog.
Please contact us at 801-585-2213 for more information.
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Whether you have been diagnosed with “low vision” or know someone who has, Lisa Ord, PhD, LCSW, director of the John A. Moran Eye Center’s Patient Support Program, wants you to know the facts about this often-misunderstood condition.
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As a clinical social worker and psychotherapist in the John A. Moran Eye Center’s comprehensive Patient Support Program, Amy Henderson, MSW, LCSW, is well aware of the misunderstandings surrounding people with low vision.