Intermediate Low Vision Clinic
VA Pittsburgh offers comprehensive support to individuals with reduced vision. The Intermediate Low Vision Clinic provides individualized care to Veterans and service members with vision deficits to enhance their quality of life.
What we do
The VA Pittsburgh Intermediate Low Vision Clinic tries to maximize the use of current vision and compensatory strategies to assist Veterans with maintaining and/or improving their level of independence and continue leading meaningful lives within their families and communities. The levels of vision and subsequent needs of each Veteran are very different. Therefore, the examination and rehabilitation plan will be tailored to meet each Veteran's specific goals.
Your evaluation within our clinic may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Discussion about what is important to you and how you manage everyday tasks
- Assessment of current vision and an updated glasses prescription, if indicated
- Gross assessment of any cognitive and/or physical limitations as well as addressing any emotions around adjusting to vision changes
- Assessment of various optical devices (such as hand-held and stand magnifiers, or hand-held and spectacle-mounted telescopes)
- Evaluation of specialty lighting to illuminate and control contrast for near and intermediate tasks
- Evaluation using absorptive lenses to control glare and light sensitivity as well as to enhance vision
- Evaluation of non-optical options, when vision loss is severe, for achieving independence with daily skills
Low vision rehabilitation examination/training
Low vision rehabilitation utilizes the plan of care from the clinical examination and further evaluates functional vision. It incorporates training with any prescribed glasses, optical aids, lighting, ergonomic adaptations, and viewing techniques to maximize remaining vision and help you achieve your goals. Low vision rehabilitation gives Veterans a better understanding of how vision is affected by eye condition.
It is our hope that through these low vision examinations, a Veteran can more easily and effectively meet self-identified goals. If vision loss is too severe (or cognitive/physical limitations are too great) to use these low vision services, we will recommend support through other VA and community based resources. We may also recommend training through Blind Rehabilitation Services.
A continuum of care
The program provides a comprehensive, seamless continuum of rehabilitative care in an outpatient setting. If needed, inpatient blind rehab training may be recommended at another nearby VA facility. We will handle that referral for you. We collaborate within our team as well as with other disciplines. You may be referred to meet with our Vision Impairment Service Team, Community Blind Rehab Outpatient Specialist, social worker, or physical therapy and occupational therapy clinics.
Work for blind Veterans
The Vision Impairment Service Team (VIST) Coordinator is a case manager who has major responsibility for the coordination of all services for low vision and legally blinded Veterans and their families. The VIST helps arrange appropriate treatment, such as referrals to inpatient VA Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRC) and/or other services to increase a blind Veteran's independence. Other duties include identifying a need for professional counseling, resolving problems, arranging annual health care reviews and conducting education and outreach programs related to blindness.
For more information on eligibility and benefits for blind Veterans, please contact our VIST Coordinator.
Veterans' individual goals will depend on what they think is most important. This may include reading and writing, viewing distance for signs or TV, or activities of daily living (ADLs) such as telling time or dialing phone numbers.
- Be eligible for admission to a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Facility.
- Have an untreatable eye condition (macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, TBI, for example) that affects vision and impacts a Veteran's ability to participate in meaningful activities.
- Have had a full, dilated eye exam (either at the VA or in the private sector) within one calendar year of coming to our clinic to rule out changes within the eye that could be medically addressed.
You may or may not:
- Have a diagnosis of 'legal blindness'.
- Have a history of stroke with secondary visual field loss.
- Have a history of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other conditions that result in visual disturbances such as glare.
Common conditions in the clinic
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Brain injury
- Corneal diseases
- Optical nerve atrophy
- Retinal dystrophies
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Stoke-related field loss
According to uSPEQ survey statistics for blind rehabilitation programs, VA Pittsburgh ranks in the top 10% of more than 1,400 VA locations proving health care for Veterans and active duty personnel with visual impairments.
Intermediate Low Vision Clinic Outcomes for 2017
- 100% of Veterans reported they would recommend the clinic to a friend.
- 100% of Veterans reported our services enabled them to do things better.
- 100% of Veterans reported that our overall program met their needs.
We are proud to recognize that our Pittsburgh's Intermediate Low Vision Clinic earned an initial 3-year CARF™ Accreditation in 2018.
Location and contact information
Ambulatory Care Center
Map of the Heinz campus
Make an appointment
If you or a Veteran you know is having difficulty functioning at home due to vision loss, call with questions or to schedule an appointment.