MEDARVA Low Vision Center
MEDARVA Low Vision Center is Central Virginia’s only low vision rehabilitation facility. Since 1998 we have been helping the region’s vision impaired resume their daily living activities, regain their independence, and improve their quality of life. We know that losing your vision may be devastating. We will work with you in a caring and compassionate environment to maximize your vision, helping you more fully engage in the daily activities of life.
Your visit will include a detailed exam performed by Dr. Jamie Pucci who will discuss your vision goals. You may also work with an occupational therapist trained to help you use low vision tools and activities.
WHAT IS LOW VISION?
If you have Low Vision then you have vision impairment that is not correctable by glasses, contact lenses, surgery, laser, or other medical intervention. With many eye conditions, your vision impairment is permanent. Low Vision Rehabilitation is the process of maximizing your vision using optical and non-optical aids to improve your independence and quality of life in spite of vision loss. We will also teach you techniques to better use your remaining vision to improve your ability to use the prescribed low vision aids.
WHAT LOW VISION IS NOT
Low Vision Rehabilitation is not a cure for your eye condition. We do not have a way to make your eye disease (macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc) go away. We will work with you to maximize your vision using optical aids (glasses, magnifiers, etc.) to help you improve your independence and quality of life.
LOW VISION REHABILITATION
Low Vision rehabilitation includes some of the following activities:
Prescriptions for specific magnifying devices and training on how to use those devices
A home assessment to determine specific needs for the home to be a safe environment.
Rehabilitation training in reading, writing, shopping, cooking, lighting, and glare control
Resources for the patient to better understand the frustrations of living with low vision and learning how to adapt
HEAR PATIENT TESTIMONIALS
TYPES OF LOW VISION AIDS
High-add glasses for near
Special software for computer
Illuminated hand-held/stand magnifiers
Advancements are constantly improving the tools available for patients living with low vision. The MEDARVA Low Vision Center uses the latest technology in low vision tools.
Two recent developments include CentraSight and OrCam MyEye:
CentraSight is the first treatment program to use a micro telescope that is implanted inside the eye to treat eye diseases such as macular degeneration that affects more than 15 million Americans in some form. The telescope implant uses micro-optical technology to magnify objects that would normally be seen in one’s straight-ahead vision.
OrCam MyEye is an intuitive portable device with a smart camera mounted on the frames of your eyeglasses, OrCam harnesses the power of Artificial Vision to assist people who are visually impaired. OrCam recognizes text, products, and faces, and speaks to you through a mini earpiece.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Living with low vision can make daily tasks difficult. If you have low vision, your sight may not be improved by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Common causes include a number of health issues, including diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, as well as birth defects and eye injuries. While most common in patients over 65, low vision can affect any age.
Low vision exams are longer than a traditional eye exam – usually an hour or more. A large part of the exam revolves around talking about vision issues that are occurring and a patient’s vision goals. An extensive vision test is also performed to determine if a regular prescription could help, or if special low vision tools will provide the vision help that’s needed.
When living with low vision, determining different colors can be difficult. In addition to making it difficult to do daily activities like picking out clothing, colors are often used to mark hazardous areas or important areas of documents.
There are several ways to make an appointment. If you are not referred to us (by your eye doctor, the Veterans Administration Medical Center or the Department for the Blind & Vision Impaired) you may simply call to schedule your own appointment. Call 804-545-9435 to set up an appointment.
Any glasses, magnifiers, or any magnifying device that you use (whether it works well for you or not). Also, you will need to bring your health insurance cards and a list of your medications.
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, pay their usual and customary reimbursements for your eye examination with our Low Vision Optometrist, and evaluation and management with our Occupational Therapist, if you are visually impaired. **Referrals are not needed for most insurance companies (including Medicare) however HMO plans (i.e., Anthem HealthKeepers) require referrals prior to your appointment.
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, do not pay for your devices – even if you are legally blind. Depending on your history and financial capability, we may work with the HH McGuire Veteran’s Medical Center, local Lions Clubs, and the state-run Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired agency for appropriate devices.
Yes. Did you know that the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) provide you safeguards if you are visually impaired? Consult the Department of Justice (DOJ) for specific information regarding ADA. In general, the ADA allows provisions for employers to make reasonable accommodations to meet your vision needs relative to your work or job. This may include providing you with necessary magnifiers, software, or other devices that allow you to perform your job tasks. We can help explain the process and determine what equipment would be most necessary for you at work.
Most of our patients have age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, or glaucoma. However, we see many patients with rod-cone dystrophy, aniridia, achromatopsia, optic atrophy, cornea disease and many other eye diseases. We also see patients with high refractive errors and ABI/TBI. Additionally, we help individuals with neurological conditions such as stroke and acquired brain injury.
We help patients of all ages, from school-aged to 100 years+. Regardless of your age or eye condition, we will evaluate you to determine what aids will be helpful to your quality of life.
Your initial visit is usually with our optometrist and occupational therapist. Follow up visits will be scheduled as needed.