Low vision can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making everyday tasks challenging. Whether you are a patient or healthcare provider, it is important to know that low vision rehabilitation is an option for patients with irreversible vision loss. But what is low vision rehabilitation? But how is a low vision eye exam in Santa Monica different from a regular eye exam? Here’s what you need to know

Understanding Low Vision:

Low vision is a condition in which an individual experiences significant visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery. Common causes include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye diseases.  Because sight is one of our major senses, the impact of low vision extends beyond the physical aspect, affecting emotional and social well-being.

Low vision rehabilitation optometrists are trained in evaluating existing vision, identifying life goals and helping patients achieve a good quality of life despite their visual impairment.

Low Vision Exam in Santa Monica:

A thorough eye examination by a low vision optometrist in Santa Monica is the first step on the path to low vision rehabilitation. During your exam, your optometrist will:  

Gather a Detailed Medical and Ocular History:

    • Specialized optical aids, such as magnifiers, telescopes, and electronic magnification devices, can help individuals with low vision read, write, and perform other near-vision tasks. Your low vision optometrist may help you choose and test devices based on your needs, or may recommend a place where you can try before you buy. 

Perform a Thorough Evaluation of Your Vision:

    • This can include visual acuity at distance and near, contrast sensitivity, and visual field testing. 

Evaluate Your Eye Health:

    • A thorough evaluation of ocular health is extremely important in a low vision exam. Not only will this evaluation help your eye doctor identify your needs, but may also lead to a necessary referral to help save your remaining vision. 

A Discussion About Your Needs and Wants:

    • How is your low vision impacting your life and what activities are you hoping to do with the help of your low vision devices? This can range from daily tasks to embracing hobbies. 

Device and Technology Selection:

Your low vision optometrist will help you select devices and technology based on your wants and needs. This can include filters, telescopes, magnifiers, electronic reading devices, specialized keyboards, and even applications for your phone and computer. 

Multiple Exams


You should plan for multiple examinations during your low vision evaluation. The exam and the process of tool selection can be long and, on occasion, your eye doctor may not have all of the devices that can help you one hand. In some cases your low vision optometrist may also refer you for further help

Low vision rehabilitation is a transformative journey that empowers individuals to embrace life despite visual challenges. Through a combination of professional guidance, adaptive tools, and community support, those with low vision can lead independent and fulfilling lives. By raising awareness about the importance of low vision rehabilitation, we can contribute to creating a more inclusive and supportive society for individuals with visual impairments. 


If you have questions or would like to schedule a low vision evaluation for yourself or a loved one contact us today!

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