More than 250 million people worldwide live with low vision or blindness. Low vision is defined as moderate to severe vision impairment with visual acuity worse than 20/60 that cannot be corrected with medical treatment, surgery or glasses. Most have some useful sight, but everyday actions like reading, cooking, recognizing faces or differentiating color can be challenging.
Kellogg takes a multidisciplinary approach to low vision, combining individualized care, novel research, and training for providers from around the world.
One-on-One Strategies and Support
At Kellogg’s Low Vision and Visual Rehabilitation Service, specialists in optometry, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, social work and more collaborate to design personalized plans to maximize sight and independence for people with low vision.
“Every patient is unique, and we are dedicated to helping them perform their specific activities with greater independence,” say program co-directors Sherry Day, O.D., and Donna Wicker, O.D. “We work with adults pursuing law degrees, seniors who want to continue making art or music, and kids who need help reading or seeing the blackboard. Their goals become our goals.”
After a thorough evaluation, patients spend time in the clinic’s Low Vision Technology Center, where they can try out the latest devices, technologies and techniques, including magnifiers, lighting options, adaptive TVs, audio smartwatches, timers, and medical devices.
Patients also meet with occupational therapist Ashley Howson, M.S., O.T.R./L., in the Independent Living Skills Center, to use low vision-adapted lighting, appliances and cookware. “They learn and practice skills to help stay safe and autonomous in their own homes,” she explains. Michigan Medicine’s certified orientation and mobility specialist, Russ Ellis, C.O.T.A., also works with patients in locations around Ann Arbor, helping them learn to navigate challenges like curbs, steps and public transportation.