Rochester, NY -- Many view a low vision diagnosis as the end of their independence and ability to make memories and live an ordinary life. Dr. George Kornfeld is a low vision practitioner who has been working tirelessly for nearly 50 years to help low vision patients vision, help them gain confidence in themselves, do the activities they want to do, and maintain their independence. Through his
private practice that serves patients in Western and Upstate New York and North Eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Kornfeld shows patients that their vision does not need to be perfect to take control of their lives, just better.
February is Low Vision Awareness Month, which is particularly important because not many people know what diseases and conditions cause low vision or know that there are ways to manage low vision. Low vision patients vary, but many have medical conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), both wet and dry, inoperable cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma as well as genetic conditions including retinitis pigmentosa, albinism, Stargardt’s disease, and retinopathy of prematurity. Others may have traumatic causes of low vision, such as stroke and traumatic brain injury. Many low vision patients have exhausted the conventional optometry and ophthalmology solutions by the time they find a low vision specialist.
Within the last few years, Dr. Kornfeld’s wife Debby has become one of his low vision patients due to her anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. Debby, like many of Dr. Kornfeld’s patients, can use several different kinds of low vision glasses to do tasks on her own, including reading, walking, and driving. Dr. Kornfeld recognizes that every patient is different and has different tasks that they would like to do if they had better vision. Debby, for example, loves crafts and is now able to sew using her sewing machine, draw, and cook using her low vision devices. Using her closed-circuit television has enabled her to continue to do research and write. Even still, there are limitations to having to rely on multiple lenses, which has prompted Dr. Kornfeld to brainstorm creative solutions to help people navigate their lives with better sight and perform tasks without having to change their glasses as frequently.
Treating low vision does not result in one-size-fits-all solutions, which requires Dr. Kornfeld to gain a deep understanding of the factors behind each patient’s low vision and their vision goals. He has been doing this important work since 1971. “There are two significant points in my low vision career that always remind me why I do what I do,” says Dr. Kornfeld. “One was when a married woman with Stargardt's (juvenile macular degeneration) got a bioptic telescope, allowing her to drive, work independently, and even change her life drastically. The other was a patient whose vision dropped below 20/70 and lost her ability to drive, which had previously helped keep her stay connected to her community. After she got a bioptic telescope, she was able to renew her license and return to doing the things that make her happiest.” While low vision solutions are not for everyone, Dr. Kornfeld is energized by the prospect of helping compatible patients achieve their goals, maintain their independence, and make their lives better.
Though Dr. Kornfeld does not see exclusively low vision patients, his unique services and perspective on treating low vision patients draw people from Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Niagara, and even Scranton, Pennsylvania. To learn more about Dr. George Kornfeld and Low Vision Optometry of Western New York, please click.
About Low Vision Optometry of Western New York and Dr. George Kornfeld
Dr. George Kornfeld has been providing low vision services for 48 years. He received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia and is a proud Fellow of both the American Academy of Optometry and International Academy of Low Vision Specialists. Dr. Kornfeld established low vision services at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York, and has operated a private practice, Low Vision Optometry of Western New York, for the past ten years.