Low Vision Rehabilitation Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to many questions you may have about low vision care. If you or a loved one has been told that nothing more could be done for failing vision– then low vision care may be the answer you have been seeking. You should seek low vision care as soon as possible after a diagnosis of vision loss has been made.

What is Low Vision?

It is estimated that there are now over 10 million people in this country who have serious visual impairments. A person with low vision has a small amount of useful vision but it is not sufficient for their daily needs. Watching television, seeing street signs or people’s faces, and even reading large print may all be difficult. Conventional eyeglasses or contact lenses don’t help.

Is low vision the same as blindness?

NO! Blindness is a total lack of vision. Legal blindness means that the better eye cannot read the large “E” on the vision chart or that there is a large amount of “tunnel vision”. But legal blindness does not mean there is no sight! Seventy-five percent of legally blind persons have some usable vision! Many can be helped to better use their remaining sight with the use of special aids called low vision devices.

Who can be helped?

Even patients who have diseases that cannot be helped through medical means may be helped with advanced low vision devices. Individuals who were born with visual impairments are often quite successful with these devices. As well, individuals who have suffered vision loss from congenital disorders, disease, stroke, and trauma can often benefit from vision rehabilitative treatment. If you can see better when you use binoculars or when you read larger print or move closer to the TV, chances are you can be helped with low vision care.

What kinds of vision problems can be treated?

We can treat problems related to:

  • Loss of detail vision for activities such as reading, recognizing faces, seeing signs, TV and computer screens.
  • Loss of side vision for walking, reading and hand-eye coordination.
  • Loss of eye movement control and double vision.

What kinds of treatment do you offer?

Examples of some of the most often prescribed treatments include:

  • Lens systems specially designed for the visually impaired that can help maximize an individual’s remaining vision for a range of activities.
  • Special prescriptive lens and therapy techniques than can lessen the effect of visual field loss on normal daily activities.
  • Special lens prescriptions that can help reduce the incidence of double vision and restore more normal vision.

What is involved?

An evaluation is necessary to determine the individual needs of each patient. It can be wide ranging and detailed. The needs of daily living, work and leisure activities are also considered. Aids are then prescribed to address the patient’s needs and eye condition.

What are low vision aids?

There are now available a huge variety of mechanical, optical, and electronic aids. They are designed to give low vision patients better sight than they can get from even the strongest conventional glasses. Aids may include large print books, magnifiers, special lenses for reading, miniature telescopes, visual field expanders, and electronic magnifiers that can magnify print up to 60 times!

Special light controlling techniques are also used to enhance the use of eyeglasses and other visual aids prescribed. Some aids will be familiar to you, while others require instruction and practice. People may need different aids for different activities. Nearly all must make adjustments to use them. Often, it is like learning to see again! BUT, one cannot hurt one’s eyes by asking them to see!


The keys to success in low vision care rest not only in the proper selection of aids but in learning to use them. The better your vision is when you start, the easier it will be to learn to use these special aids. You should seek low vision care as soon as possible after your diagnosis is made.

Need help?

Request a referral from your own eye specialist, neurologist or other health care provider knowledgeable about your needs. We will keep them fully updated concerning our examination and recommendations. Remember: this special examination and treatment does not replace the eye care that you presently receive.

Contact Us

You may call us directly for an appointment at (919) 493-7456 or (800) 942-1499. We will send you a map, questionnaire and registration form. Please complete these before your visit.

If you will be using insurance to cover your visit, make certain that you have satisfied any prior approval requirements with your insurance carrier before your appointment. Bring the forms along with your eyeglasses and other vision aids when you visit The Center for Vision Rehabilitation.

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Durham Office - Academy Road
  • 3115 Academy Road
  • Durham, NC 27707
  • 919-493-7456
  • Dr. Powell & Dr. Greene
Chapel Hill Office - MLK Jr. Blvd.
  • 910 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27514
  • 919-942-8531
  • Dr. Canterbury & Dr. Wujciak