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Low Vision Exam

Low Vision Exam

Low vision examination and consultation is a special eye care service provided by eye doctors trained in low vision rehabilitation.  It goes beyond what’s included in a typical comprehensive optometric or ophthalmological exam and can last up to two hours. 

The examination, consultation, and any therapy services are covered by most medical insurance plans. 

A low vision exam is ideal for anyone who wants to see better and has lost central vision from conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, stroke, or other eye diseases.  When previous eye glasses, surgery, injections, or medication cannot restore the loss of vision, then it’s time for a low vision exam and consultation. 

The main goal of low vision rehabilitation is to improve the everyday activities of a person who has had some loss of functional vision.  In vision rehab, the optometrist evaluates the visual needs and abilities of a person who has suffered loss of vision and develops a plan meet those vision needs. 

People get the biggest benefit from low vision services when solutions are incorporated early on, or before the vision loss progresses to a point where reading skills and other critical vision skills have declined.  Most specialists agree the 20/60 vision or worse, especially if the central vision is coming from damaged central retinal tissue, as in macular degeneration

Bringing along a family member or significant other is always recommended during the low vision consultation.  Including family and loved ones in the process of low vision rehabilitation greatly enhances the success of a person in using their current vision to regain their independence.


Low vision rehabilitation includes:

  • Solutions to living more independently with loss of detail vision
  • A thorough review of previous ocular surgical and medical records
  • Calculating the amount of magnification needed to read and write
  • Measuring the refractive power to see faces, TV, and signs
  • Evaluating the best magnifiers for home, restaurants, and paperwork
  • Identifying the most comfortable and effective light for reading to control glare
  • Comparing optical and digital magnification for best function
  • Connecting to other professional rehab providers for special needs such as mobility, grief support, and occupational training
  • Prescribing strong reading glasses to see better up close
  • Education and answers about eye health and vision function


Functional Vision is a person’s ability to integrate the components of vision to effectively accomplish a life task, such as reading, writing, self-care, cooking, and getting around. 

During a functional visual assessment, the doctor identifies how a person uses their vision to accomplish a task. It is more than just measuring the smallest line a person can read off of an acuity chart, or recording a map of a person’s field of vision.  Functional vision is the way a person uses their vision to live and thrive.

Low Vision Examinations are currently offered by Dr. Christina Petrou at two Milwaukee area locations: for more information, call Petrou Eye Care in Glendale at 414-247-2020, or contact the Optical Consultants in Waukesha at 262-521-9383. 


Questions to ask your eye care professional about low vision

  • What changes can I expect in my vision?
  • Will my vision loss get worse? How much of my vision will I lose?
  • Will regular eyeglasses improve my vision?
  • What medical/surgical treatments are available for my condition?
  • What can I do to protect or prolong my vision?
  • Will diet, exercise, or other lifestyle changes help?
  • How can I continue my normal, routine activities?
  • Are there resources to help me in my job?
  • Will any special devices help me with daily activities like reading, sewing, cooking, or fixing things around the house?
  • What training and services are available to help me live better and more safely with low vision?
  • Where can I find individual or group support to cope with my vision loss?

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