Ophthalmology: Low Vision Services
UT Medical Group's Low Vision Service at the Hamilton Eye Institute is part of the Department of Ophthalmology. Our goal is to improve the lives of people (both adults and children) with low vision by a combination of Low Vision Rehabilitation and Occupational Therapy. We give patients the tools they need to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of their daily lives. They learn to carry out tasks safely with skill and confidence.
Who benefits from low vision services?
- Patients with less than 20/60 acuity (sharpness of vision)
- Patients who have lost their peripheral or central vision (blind spots)
The program helps these patients to
- improve their reading and writing.
- make their living environment safer.
- prepare meals and beverages without spilling or burning themselves.
- manage money and bill paying.
- identify and manage their medications.
- attain educational achievement.
- learn how to use various sight-improving tools.
The program also includes, when appropriate, in-home visits.
We provide valuable resources to patients connecting them with local and national low vision organizations. Most insurance plans cover the cost of the diagnostic examinations and training.
Some Questions and Answers For Patients
What is low vision rehabilitation?
People with vision loss often have problems with daily activities such as reading or getting around safely. Low vision rehabilitation helps them overcome these problems by teaching them to use special equipment and methods which improve their ability to be active. This reduces the disabling affects of vision loss.
Why do I need a therapist? I already have an eye doctor.
The therapist does not replace the eye doctor. The therapist does not do eye exams or prescribe glasses. Instead the therapist works with your eye doctor to teach you ways to maintain as normal and independent a life as possible.
How many visits will I need?
Low vision rehabilitation therapy is a process; depending on your goals and motivation you will need therapy one hour twice a week for several weeks.
How much does therapy cost?
Most insurance plans will cover the cost of your therapy. For instance, if you have Medicare you will only be responsible for 20% of the cost (your co-pay). If you have secondary insurance, it may pick up the rest of the tab.
Will I have to buy equipment from you? I have already spent a lot of money on glasses and magnifiers that don’t help.
You don’t have to buy any equipment from UT Medical Group and we do not store any equipment for sale. The therapist will work with you to help determine the best solutions for your needs using a wide variety of equipment. Your therapist will make recommendations and give you information about companies from which you can purchase the equipment yourself. However, if you prefer, we can order the equipment for you. The cost of low vision devices is usually not covered by insurance.
- Thomas J. O'Donnell, MD, Director
- Orli M. Weisser-Pike, OTR/L, CLVT, SCLV, Assistant Director
Form for Referring Physicians
If you have a patient you wish to refer to UTMG Low Vision Services, please click here for a pdf referral form which you can print out and fax to 901-448-1299.
We improve the lives of people with low vision, their families and communities by delivering a powerful, evidence-based, and compassionate Low Vision Service; by providing education and information for all who seek to learn more about low vision; and by training additional professionals who can then help others.
Mission — We aim to...
- Deliver comprehensive, affordable, and accessible low vision rehabilitation
- Promote academic excellence through mentorship
- Contribute to scientific knowledge and professional education
- Raise public awareness about disabling effects of low vision and promote eye health