Low Vision FAQs

What is low vision?
Low vision is any visual impairment that is unable to be corrected with regular glasses, contact lenses, medical treatment, or surgery. Some cause of low vision include: macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts, strokes, retinitis pigmentosa, and other retinal/optic nerve disease.

How do I know if I might benefit from a low vision evaluation?

If you are having difficulties in your daily life related to your vision, even with an updated glasses or contact lens prescription, you may benefit from a low vision evaluation. Some areas we can address include difficulties with reading, using a computer, recognizing faces, performing household tasks, enjoying hobbies, driving, and work/school tasks.

About our Low Vision Clinic

What is a low vision examination?

During your examination, you will be evaluated by an optometrist with training and experience in low vision rehabilitation. The optometrist will evaluate if your vision can be improved with glasses and will also evaluate how your vision can be used more effectively. The optometrist will perform tests which focus on how your vision affects your daily life, which may include:
  • Peripheral vision testing
  • Blind spot mapping
  • Contrast sensitivity testing

The optometrist will also prescribe low vision devices and aids and demonstrate techniques and strategies that may be useful for you. And, lastly, the low vision optometrist will use the information from the evaluation to formulate a rehabilitation plan which may include referrals to a low vision occupational therapist or other professionals and recommendations for low vision aids and other Assistive Technology.

Generally, the initial low vision optometry examination lasts about two hours. Further visits, which generally last about one to two hours, may be scheduled depending on your condition and goals.

How is a low vision examination different from an examination with my optometrist or ophthalmologist?

A low vision examination focuses on how you are functioning with your vision and how to maximize the remaining vision that you have. A large portion of the examination is talking about how your vision is affecting your life and then determining strategies to help you address your goals. During a low vision examination, the optometrist uses specialized tests which provide more specific information regarding your level of vision which can be helpful for determining which types of low vision aids or training may be beneficial for you.

Unlike an examination with your primary optometrist or ophthalmologist, a low vision examination is not a medical examination to evaluate your eye health. It is important that you continue to see your primary eye doctor/ophthalmologist to monitor your condition and evaluate for any other eye diseases which could cause further vision loss. If you notice any new changes in your vision, consult your primary eye doctor right away.

Are low vision services covered by insurance?

We accept Medicare, Tricare, Medi-Cal, referrals from the Department of Rehabilitation, and some private insurance plans. If you have an HMO, insurance pre-authorization may be required. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding insurance coverage.

What to bring to your exam
  • Any glasses, magnifiers, or other low vision aids you currently use
  • Any items that you would like to see better, such as reading material, mail, music sheets, hobbies, etc.
  • Your insurance cards and co-pays
  • List of your current medications
  • Your government-issued identification card
Contact our Low Vision Clinic

Contact Our Low Vision Services

  • Contact our Low Vision Services staff to learn more about how they can help.
  • Schedule an appointment at our Low Vision Services, which includes an assessment.
  • You will be scheduled at one of our convenient locations. 
San Diego: 5922 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115
Vista: 1385 Bonair Road, Vista, CA  92084
Low Vision Services:  619-255-9741

Email:  lvc@sdcb.org 

Visit our store to purchase assistive technology products

Contact Our Blind & Visually Impaired Products Store

  • Call for information about Assistive Technology products.
  • Our store is conveniently stocked with Assistive Technology products and low-vision aids.
  • Our expert staff can provide you telephone support.
Call our store:  619-583-1542 X161
Email our store: store@sdcb.org
Visit our store:  Make Appointment