Sensory services: supporting low-vision patients

Rima Evans looks at the work of those offering practical support and rehabilitation for people with visual impairment

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Services for people with visual impairment offer practical help in managing everyday tasks, living as independently as possible and allaying any fear and anxiety. But they can sometimes be overlooked. Optometrists should familiarise themselves with the appropriate pathways for patients to seek emotional support and social care, which may differ across regions.

A sensory service differs from one offered by a low-vision clinic by not being medically focused or concerned with maximising vision. Staff are not optometrists but are trained to assess visual impairment needs from a functional perspective, and offer support and/or a programme of rehabilitation.

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