Low Vision FAQ


What is low vision?

A visual impairment, not corrected by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities.

Normal Vision 20/20
Low Vision 20/40 to 20/190
Legally Blind 20/200 or field of vision less than 20%

What are the causes of low vision?

Most people develop low vision as a result of eye conditions and diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, and stroke. Some causes of low vision, such as cataracts, are treatable and good vision can be restored.

What is a functional vision assessment?

The aim is to understand how low vision has impacted the person’s daily activities and what their vision goals are. The patient will learn what low vision devices and other low vision services are available to them to get the most out of their remaining vision in order to remain safe and independent. They will have the opportunity to try different devices such as magnifiers, telescopes and talking watches to see what works for them. Sighted guide technique can be taught if needed.

How long does the assessment take?

The assessment takes about 1 – 2 hours. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to attend the assessment.

Where is the assessment done?

The assessment can either be done at the OHC office or at the patient’s home. Home visits offer the convenience of not having to find a caregiver to drive the patient to the office and is less stressful for the patient. An environmental assessment can be done at the home and strategies for safety such as trip hazards and contrast enhancement can be given. There are often simple solutions to the issues the patient faces.

What costs are involved?

There is no cost for the assessment as it is covered under OHIP.

The devices are partially funded for low vision patients through the Assistive Devices Program in Ontario. Patients on ODSP receive additional funding.

Who is eligible for ADP funding?

Any age and must have a functional visual disability of six months or longer. The applicants visual functioning is reduced to such a level that they are unable to perform common, regular, everyday, age related visual tasks. The applicant must have long-term low vision that cannot be corrected medically, surgically or with ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.

How do I set up an appointment for Low Vision Assessment?

Your optometrist can email the referral to lowvisionicare@gmail.com or fax to our office at 519-658-6801.