Doctors and expenses of low vision
Since low vision is always caused by eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, most patients receive low vision treatments from the eye doctor who treat their eye diseases. This is quite reasonable. You can get magnifiers or other low vision devices from your doctor to deal with your impaired eye.
The reality is that not all optometrists and ophthalmologists specialize in low vision care. Some doctors may even know less about low vision treatments and available low vision aids. In this case, you need to resort to a low vision specialist for proper devices.
Lighthouse International lists a great number of optometrists and ophthalmologists in its Yellow Pages. Some of them claim that they are low vision professionals. You can also search for low vision specialists in your region at the Internet Low Vision Society.
In most cases, the patient should pay for low vision aids and services. Since modern low vision devices such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) and computerized magnification system can cost as high as thousands, Medicare only covers a limited range of vision services and visual aids. It accords with the principle of Medicare since its creation in 1965. In the future, low vision devices may be completely excluded from Medicare.
The good news is that some nonprofit organizations such as Lighthouse International and EyeCare America provide low vision help. In accordance to the patient’s vision and financial conditions, Lighthouse International offers low vision aids at reduced prices, or even free. EyeCare America under AAO provides one year of free examination and treatments to patients who can not afford any eye care insurance. Some health insurance plans also cover certain kinds of low vision devices and services.