Cataracts Awareness Month: Helping Those With Cataracts Is As Easy as 1-2-3 by Dr. George Kornfeld, OD, FAAO, FIALVS
As a low vision doctor, I have personally witnessed the profound impact that cataracts can have on a person’s vision and overall well-being. For those for whom surgery is not an option, I firmly believe that with the right optical support, there is potential for regaining some visual clarity and independence. In this blog, I will delve into the world of cataracts, shed light on the challenges they pose, and share how I often play a crucial role in helping people overcome these obstacles.
Cataracts are a prevalent age-related eye condition characterized by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. This cloudiness gradually affects a person’s ability to see clearly, often resulting in blurred vision, glare sensitivity, and difficulty with daily activities like driving or reading. While cataract surgery remains the primary treatment option, some people still opt out or experience visual difficulties after the procedure. That is why, as a low vision doctor, I offer a range of non-invasive alternatives that can help people with cataracts continue enjoying their hobbies and living their lives without the limitations of this visual impairment.
The Role of a Low Vision Doctor
Here at Low Vision Optometry of Western New York, my primary goal is to empower people with cataracts by maximizing their remaining vision and equipping them with the necessary tools and strategies to navigate their daily lives. Here are three key ways in which I make a difference:
1. Initial Phone Consultation
Before embarking on a journey to do the things people can no longer do, as a low vision doctor, I believe it is essential to have an initial phone consultation. This invaluable step allows individuals with low vision to gain insights into their usable vision, express their goals, and understand the potential solutions that can enhance their visual capabilities.
Assessing Usable Vision and Wish List
During the complimentary phone evaluation, I take the time to understand a person’s current level of usable vision. This assessment provides me with a general sense of their visual capabilities, allowing me to tailor my approach to their unique needs. By discussing their daily challenges and desired outcomes, often referred to as their “Wish List,” I gain a deeper understanding of their goals and aspirations.
Determining Feasibility and Scheduling an Office Appointment
Based on the information gathered during the phone consultation, I can determine if I am able to assist the person in achieving their desired visual outcomes. If I believe that I can help them, it makes sense to schedule an office appointment. This step ensures that the person’s expectations align with the services I provide and allows us to move forward with a comprehensive assessment and personalized solutions.
Discovering New Options and Solutions
The initial phone consultation serves as a remarkable opportunity for people to learn about the various options available for their low vision. Many people may be unaware of the range of solutions that exist beyond traditional approaches. By discussing their condition and exploring alternative solutions, they can discover new possibilities that may significantly improve their visual capabilities and quality of life.
Addressing Questions and Concerns
The phone consultation also provides a platform for people to ask questions and express any concerns they may have regarding their condition and the low vision services I offer. This open dialogue allows me to provide clarity and reassurance, ensuring that they feel comfortable and informed about the potential options available to them.
2. Comprehensive In-Person Vision Evaluation
To understand the extent of visual impairment caused by cataracts and other factors, I conduct a thorough in-person vision evaluation. Through the evaluation of visual acuity and other visual functions, I gain valuable insights into each person’s unique visual capabilities and deepen an understanding of their “Wish List.” This assessment forms the foundation for developing personalized solutions tailored to their needs.
3. Low Vision Glasses
One of the most powerful tools in my arsenal is the prescription and fitting of specialized optical devices- low vision glasses. These glasses are designed to compensate for the specific visual challenges posed by cataracts. Bioptic telescopes, full-diameter telescopic glasses, and E-Scoop glasses are just a few examples of the range of options available. By wearing these specialized glasses, people with cataracts can significantly enhance their vision, enabling them to engage in activities that are important to them, such as reading, watching television, driving, and recognizing faces.
An initial phone consultation is an essential step in the journey toward helping those whose lives have become impacted by cataracts. By assessing their usable vision, understanding their goals, and discussing the options available to them, we all can feel confident about the next steps.
If you or someone you know is facing the impact of cataracts, I encourage you to connect them with us for a free telephone consultation to explore the possibilities that lie beyond the clouded lens. Together, we can embark on a transformative journey toward visual clarity and a brighter future.