Learn more about how occupational therapy can help people with low vision.

Learn About Occupational Therapy for Low Vision

Do you or someone you love have trouble reading labels on medicines, recognizing faces, seeing the television, or reading the mail?

Is it difficult to write checks, make lists, or use electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets? Do you avoid leaving home or have trouble navigating in unfamiliar areas because of your vision?

If so, you may need more than just a prescription for stronger glasses or contact lenses. You may need specialized occupational therapy because you’re experiencing low vision.

To learn more about UPMC’s occupational therapy services, visit the UPMC Centers for Rehab Services website.

What Is Low Vision?

Low vision and vision impairment describe any vision loss that cannot be corrected with the use of glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Certain eye diseases can affect your vision, including:

“It’s easy to let vision impairment stop you from enjoying life,” says Holly Stants, MS, OTR/L, senior occupational therapist with UPMC Centers for Rehab Services’ Low Vision Clinic.

“But it’s important to know that help is out there. Occupational therapy for low vision rehabilitation can help you gain more independence so you can return to daily activities and a better quality of life.”

Low Vision and Vision Impairment Occupational Therapy

Specialized occupational therapy is available for those experiencing low vision or vision impairment. This type of rehabilitation can help you use your remaining vision for:

      • Reading
      • Medicine management
      • Fall prevention strategies
      • Home management
      • Electronic device management, including computers and tablets
      • Technology, including cell phone use
      • Navigating low lighting, glare, and contrast
      • Leisure activities

Your primary care doctor, optometrist, ophthalmologist, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner may refer you to an occupational therapist for low vision rehabilitation.

“When you begin therapy, we’ll work with you to reach your personal goals,” explains Holly. “We can train you on recommended equipment and skills to help you complete more tasks on your own.”

These devices and skills include:

      • Training to use your remaining vision
      • Electronic devices for magnification
      • Computer program or applications for electronic devices
      • Specialized magnifiers
      • Strategies to improve your ability to complete everyday tasks
      • Fall prevention strategies
      • Strategies for coping with chronic vision impairment
      • Family education

“We will help you improve your quality of life and ability to gain independence and complete meaningful activities,” says Holly.