When a partial vision loss cannot be corrected with eye glasses, surgery or medication, a person is said to have low vision. A loss of central vision and reduced visual acuity can be caused by age-related macular degeneration. Vision Rehabilitation assists you to learn the skills and strategies to help you remain safe, independent and active.
What is the goal of the Council’s Vision Rehabilitation services?
Assisting you to become as independent as possible and maintain that independence is the goal of the Vision Rehabilitation services. Through Vision Rehabilitation, you can learn about low vision aids, techniques for using your remaining vision, how to live safely, and about helpful community resources. Vision Rehabilitation is a combination of practical techniques and useful tools to help you get the most out of your remaining vision.
What Vision Rehabilitation services are available through the Council?
The Council offers four Vision Rehabilitation services: low vision evaluations and services, in-home vision rehabilitation services, assistive technology training, and orientation and mobility training. Vision Rehabilitation specialists help you determine the tools, skills and strategies that may be beneficial.
Will Vision Rehabilitation services help me “see better”?
Vision Rehabilitation will not restore lost or damaged vision. Even though regular glasses can no longer improve vision to the point where you can see as well as needed, there are many low vision aids and techniques that CAN help you do specific activities.
Will I get my eyesight back through Vision Rehabilitation services?
Low vision specialists do not diagnose or treat eye diseases. They help you maximize your existing eyesight. If you have questions about what is happening to your eyes, you should ask your eye care provider.
If my vision is expected to decrease, is Vision Rehabilitation worthwhile?
Although some eye diseases can cause total blindness, most people will keep some useful vision for the rest of their lives. Being able to get the most out of your useful eyesight helps you safely live a more independent and fulfilling life. Ask your eye doctor about the long-range expectations for your vision.
Will using my eyes make them worse, or cause them to weaken?
NO! You cannot make your eyesight worse by using your eyes. You can and should, in most cases, use your eyes as much as you want.
Is Vision Rehabilitation painful?
NO. Vision Rehabilitation is non-invasive.
What is the cost of Vision Rehabilitation services?
Low vision services are provided through the generous support of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the UW Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences who cover most of the costs. Charges to patients can range from $75 - $150, depending upon the number of visits. Currently, Medicare CANNOT be billed for this charge. If paying this fee represents a financial hardship, “scholarships” are available through WCB&VI to cover the cost.
Currently, there is no cost for in-home vision rehabilitation services provided through the Wisconsin Council of the Blind. The Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a state agency, also offers vision rehabilitation services at no cost. Vision rehabilitation specialists through OBVI can be found throughoutWisconsin.
Low vision aids and adaptive products, such as magnifiers and talking watches, are not covered by Medicare or health insurers. These products are available from local organizations and online stores.
If Vision Rehabilitation is beneficial, why doesn’t Medicare pay for it?
Vision Rehabilitation services are strongly recommended by the American
Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) for persons with low vision. Efforts to obtain Medicare reimbursement have made progress, yet not all services are covered. Although Medicare and private health insurers may pay for some medical equipment, like wheelchairs, they do not pay for low vision aids and adaptive devices.
How do I schedule an appointment for Vision Rehabilitation services?
To schedule a low vision evaluation, call the University Station Eye Clinic scheduling desk at 608-263-7171. Low vision evaluations are given at University Station Clinic, 2880 University Avenue, Madison. If you have questions about low vision evaluations, call Marshall Flax at 608-237-8107 or 1-808-783-5213.
To schedule in-home vision rehabilitation services, call WCB&VI at 608-255-1166 or 800-783-5213. If you have questions about in-home vision rehabilitation services, call Jean Kalscheur at 608-237-8106.