I’m John Jacobi. I practice as an optometrist in Livonia, Michigan treating patients from all around the state. Patients are willing to drive hours because we offer complete low vision services.
At my practice, we want to know how the low vision patient envisions a better life being partially sighted. Therefore we inquire about what they desire to do but are currently incapable of doing.
We then match the devices, the training, and the ongoing treatment that will enable them to accomplish the tasks they described. For some, this could be as simple as eating, others desire to engage in certain hobbies. There are patients who want to do something as simple as using a computer or drive a car.
Our goal is to make people whole again through complex low vision services.
What’s a Low Vision Exam and How Is It Different?
Step 1 - a Comprehensive Interview
When the patient comes in, there is a comprehensive interview about the patient’s history in terms of vision and his or her past life in general. Next, we ask them where they are currently and where they would like to go from here. After having lived with vision loss for a while, many assume their options are minimal.
We are here to expand the options as much as possible with a realistic approach, and in many cases, we will hit their goals.
Step 2 - an Extensive Sight Testing
Following the interview, we conduct extensive sight testing to understand how the patient uses his or her eyes in terms of eccentric viewing. From there, we move on to showing the devices that might be suited for the particular patient after excellent refraction. Refraction is a significant factor in setting the basis for the proper devices.
Step 3 - Experiencing the Devices
The patient then gets the chance to test the devices in our office. They can try the different glasses for reading on the computer, or they can go outside and experience what it’s like to see the world with each different lens or device.
The idea is to demonstrate their options to them in a realistic way before they make a decision. Finally, a concluding consultation takes place. All in all, the entire process takes about an hour.
Step 4 - Prescribing and Receiving the Glasses
After we prescribe the devices, it takes 5 to 6 weeks for them to arrive. When the patient comes in to receive them, we take our time, making sure the patient is comfortable and knows how to use and take care of the new equipment. We continue the training with another 3 - 4 visits, at least.
It is an ongoing conversation between the patient and us, but for most of them, it is mainly a new beginning.