To determine if you suffer from low vision, a low vision rehabilitation evaluation must first be performed. Dr. Jon Forché uses special examination techniques and prescribes special lenses and low vision aids based specifically for the needs of the patient. Dr. Jon Forché is the only residency-trained low vision rehabilitation specialist in the Athens area. An advocate for the visually impaired, he also gives his time by lecturing on low vision rehabilitation to Lion’s Clubs, the Georgia Council for the Blind, neurological groups and the Department of Labor.
A low vision rehabilitation evaluation is focused on determining a patient's potential for visual rehabilitation through the use of specifically prescribed eyewear, specialized training and/or low vision devices. This might include using special magnification devices, special tints or telescopes to improve the patient's quality of life. Non-optical aids, like large print books and playing cards, books on tape, talking watches, etc. may also be suggested. If, upon evaluation, these methods/devices are found to help a patient overcome some of their visual challenges, specific devices may be prescribed along with vision rehabilitation with certified occupational therapists.
Low vision rehabilitation involves setting realistic goals, patience and training. The goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient. Through accurate assessment and dedication, a patient who once was reliant on others for such basic tasks as reading a menu or telling the time can become less dependent as they learn to better utilize what vision they have left.
During vision rehabilitation, the doctor, vision rehabilitation specialist and low vision patient and even the patient's family all work together to develop a clear understanding of how certain methods and devices can improve independence for the patient and show the low vision patient what they CAN do rather than focusing so intently on what they cannot. For many patients this will involve basic training in our office. Certain devices need to be held at a specific distance in order to provide maximum benefit.
Other patients may require a visit from our rehabilitation specialist who will coordinate the visit with the patient directly. Occupational therapists from Athens Regional Medical Center work under the supervision of Dr. Forché to provide complete training for our vision rehabilitation patients. During the home visit the occupational therapist will usually evaluate the patient's home to ensure that lighting, task areas and kitchens and bathrooms are set up properly for a person with limited vision. The occupational therapist will also train the patient with any devices prescribed to improve the patient's quality of life.