Explore a list of frequently asked questions, covering topics such as low vision evaluations, assistive devices, visual rehabilitation, and community resources
What Is Low Vision?
Low Vision can be defined as the best-corrected vision with medical, surgical, therapy, conventional eyewear, or contact lenses, that is insufficient to do what you want to do.
According to The World Health Organization
- 20/70 to 20/160 is considered moderate low vision
- 20/200 to 20/400 is considered severe low vision
- 20/500 to 20/1,000 is considered profound low vision
What Causes Low Vision?
Low vision may occur as a result of birth defects, injury, aging, hereditary factors, or as a complication of the disease.
The most common causes are Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Retinopathy of Prematurity, Retinal Detachment, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Can Doctor Cure My Low Vision?
Low Vision services do not cure the cause of the vision problem. Instead, we try to utilize the remaining vision to its fullest potential. Low Vision care does not replace the need for other concurrent treatments such as laser, medication, and surgery. We prescribe special microscopic/telescopic eyewear, magnifiers, and other adaptive equipment, so you can enjoy your favorite activities and independence.
How Does Low Vision Exam Differ From A Regular Eye Exam?
A low vision examination is very different from a routine eye examination, performed by primary care optometrists and ophthalmologists. It lasts at least an hour and often longer. It is a Vision and Function examination that includes assessing the functional needs, capabilities, and limitations of the patient's visual system, and evaluating and prescribing low vision systems.
A low vision exam starts with a conversation where the patient explains how the reduced vision is affecting his or her life. The Wish List of the things the patient wants to be able to do is created, so the doctor understands exactly what the goals are.
The second part is very extensive vision testing. First, careful refraction is performed to find out if a new regular eyeglass prescription would help. Then, the doctor and patient work with magnification, illumination, and optical and non-optical low-vision devices, including telescopes, microscopes, and prisms, with varying levels of magnification and strength as well as other magnification devices.
At this point, the doctor must determine the best form and level of magnification needed for a patient to perform the desired tasks.
What Are The Costs?
Unfortunately, the costs are not covered by Medicare or private insurance.
Our Low Vision Evaluation fee is $295.
Low Vision glasses vary in cost from $800 to $3,500, depending upon the following factors:
1. Type of lens system - Telescopic, Microscope, Prismatic, E-Scoop
2. Monocular or Binocular - some systems must be monocular for one eye, some binocular and some may be either.
3. The level of magnification required
4. The eyeglass prescription of the patient
5. The frame used for the system
6. The number of items on the wish list
Low-vision devices are considered to be Task Specific. The glasses are designed to complete the task desired. From time to time it is possible to design a pair of glasses for multiple tasks. Often, however, this is not possible.
When Do I Get My Glasses?
It typically takes 2 to 4 weeks for specialized low-vision glasses to be made.
These are custom-made, precisely engineered glasses. Sometimes, arrangements can be made to have them sooner. If a person has a special event happening and needs the glasses, the lab can usually expedite the order.
What Is The FREE Telephone Interview?
The free telephone interview is a way of limiting the time, expense, and
disappointment of people who probably cannot be helped by low vision care.
Dr. Pikus has determined that asking the right questions on the phone could
determine if a patient can be helped with her low vision services. " I would love to
help everyone see better, unfortunately, it is not always possible. Why put the
patient through the time and expense only to be extremely disappointed?"
During the free telephone interview, the doctor will ask questions regarding vision, functional abilities, goals, motivation, health, and mobility to determine if an appointment is in the best interests of the patient.
How Do I Know Glasses Will Work After I Get Them?
During the evaluation, the patient will use an actual low-vision telescope,
microscope, and prismatic glasses on the tasks desired. The doctor and the
patient will see that they work BEFORE they are ordered.
This will be done again when the patient picks up the glasses. We never
order glasses until the patient knows that they work.
The Low Vision Devices are prescription items and can not be returned once dispensed.
Read more here >
What If My Vision Change After I Get Glasses?
Almost always, prescriptions and magnification levels can be changed without the
need for a whole new pair of glasses.
We offer a 6-month warranty if the prescription changes at no charge to the patient. It is interesting that changes are actually rarely needed.
How Do I Pay?
Low Vision of Illinois accepts:
cash and personal checks and credit cards