Low vision occurs when there is reduced or poor vision that cannot be further improved with conventional spectacles, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. A person with low vision may have:
Reduced visual acuity – trouble seeing objects at a certain distance.
Reduced contrast sensitivity – trouble differentiating background colours from objects. This may cause difficulty identifying steps, roadside curbs, walls, uneven surfaces and even rice on a white plate.
Significantly obstructed visual field – people with macular degeneration may have difficulty recognising faces when they lose their central vision. Those who have lost their peripheral field (side vision) due to glaucoma or stroke may lose their ability to read and move around independently, often bumping into obstacles along their path. They often trip on low-lying furniture, leading to serious falls.
People with low vision often find it difficult to carry on with their daily activities independently.
It is not unexpected that some people may feel depressed about their vision loss. They may even wonder if there is something wrong in their minds. Some may experience ‘phantom vision’ – seeing things that are not actually there (Charles Bonnet Syndrome).
People who cannot see well are at a higher risk of injury and falls. They feel stressed venturing out on their own and often become isolated from their previous social network.
People with low vision have residual useful vision. In SNEC, specially trained low vision optometrists will provide a comprehensive low vision evaluation and recommend the appropriate low vision aids as part of vision rehabilitation.
Vision rehabilitation teaches techniques to utilise this residual vision in new ways to achieve a desired outcome.
Some examples of vision rehabilitation include:
Computer adaptations, for users to enlarge everything on the computer screen, or to listen to what is on the screen
Audio book on tapes or CDs
Large print books,
Tactile markers to improve colour contrast
SNEC Low Vision ServiceClinic C, Level 3 (Please use Lift Lobby C)Singapore National Eye Centre11 Third Hospital AvenueSingapore 168751
SEER is a subsidised, multidisciplinary rehabilitation service that helps people with low vision to perform day to day activities safely and confidently at home and in the community.
Occupational therapyYou may be seen for one clinic session and up to four home therapy sessions:
Advice on strategies for a safe home environment to prevent injuries (e.g. improving colour contrast by using high contrast colour strips on kerbs)
Recommendation and training on the use of adaptive equipment to cope with lack of vision in daily activities (e.g. electronic magnifiers, use of computer software, pillbox)
Visual skills training (e.g. eccentric viewing training; scanning strategies)
Caregiver training on specific techniques and movements in a variety of travel situations and other areas to
increase confidence, safety and efficiency in taking care of loved ones
Eligibility criteriaYou may be eligible for this programme when you have a SNEC doctor’s referral and 50 years old and above.
How we can helpYou will first be referred for a low vision assessment by the optometrist to assess your vision function. This includes refraction (checking of eye power) and contrast sensitivity. Optical aids such as magnifiers and telescopes may be prescribed with the aim of maximising remaining vision and improving reading performance.
Our case manager will address the psychosocial adjustment to vision loss and provide information about social supports and community resources. They will also involve family and support patients in the rehabilitation process.
If you are interested or think your loved ones may benefit from this programme, contact the case manager at +65 6322 8304 for more details.
SEER is in collaboration with
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