Low Vision – the role of Occupational Therapy

Krystele Hurcum, Recovery Station Occupational Therapist has helped many of her clients maintain their ability to engage in everyday tasks despite having low vision. Most recently one of Krystele’s clients was able to regain her confidence in using public transport so she could reconnect with friends at the local senior citizen’s club. The ability to do this independently by overcoming the barriers that low vision presented provided a great sense of achievement and has led to new goals being set.

Recovery Station offers a low vision and support program to help people maintain quality of life and continue to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Without the correct support and guidance from a trained clinician this can often be a difficult transition for people experiencing low vision. The program aims to:

  • Increase confidence when participating in everyday activities
  • Improve or support continued participation in leisure activities
  • Decrease risk of falls in the home and the community
  • Increase confidence when accessing the community
  • Increase awareness of communication strategies
  • Help maintain or improve quality of life and well-being
  • Enhance ability to use other senses to compensate for vision loss
  • Help with money management skills
  • Provide individualised advise and information on resources available to assist in living an independent and safe life with the dignity you deserve

With a focus on helping you to do what is important to you Occupational Therapists (OTs) work with you and provide solutions to the barriers low vision presents. For instance, you may experience difficulty recognising cans of food in the pantry or find particular areas of the house dark and a potential falls risk.

An initial OT assessment usually involves a review of your home environment, the activities you carry out and identifying your strengths and any presenting barriers that prevent you from participating in everyday activities and the things that you enjoy. OTs may suggest various strategies such as falls preventions (e.g. lighting, vision strips and mobility aids), use of assistive technology (e.g. magnification devices, talking clocks and liquid level sensors when filling up your coffee mug with hot water) and practice using your other senses (e.g. use of touch to identify coins).

Participants in the Recovery Station Low Vision program have some useable vision but their vision is severe enough to impact on participation in daily activities. This includes any individual who has reported a decline in vision or has a diagnosis of macular degeneration, glaucoma and/ or cataracts.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health professionals whose role is to enable their clients to participate in meaningful and productive activities. To find out more on how Recovery Station can help you live life to the fullest please call our office on 1300 588 851. Krystele and our team look forward to helping you.