It is the greatest tragedy that curative and clinical science equips us to deal with only a limited number of problems. For those, beyond the scope of our expertise, we are happy to declare, “Nothing can be done”. A classic example in this regard, would be how ophthalmologists in general deal with the so called “non treatable causes of blindness”. It is easy to turn the door on such a patient and push him into a lifetime of despair and misery.
Helen Keller said, “Never say, nothing can be done. There is always rehabilitation”. She would have known, she lived her life as an exemplary example.
Narayana Nethralaya is humbled with the initiation of her new department – ‘Pediatric Vision Rehabilitation and low vision center’. With the initial focus on the pre-verbal child, which began in 2008 under the aegis of SMILES (Steady MILE towards Sight) it has now been strengthened to a full fledged department, which has resolved to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to both children and adults.
The aim of the department is to maximize the potential of the visually challenged child with the science and art of early intervention followed by vision rehabilitation. For adults, the activity building to allows him/her to cope with life and its myriad opportunities with enhanced confidence making him/her independent to the best possible level. The qualitative development can be perceived even in a patient with multiple challenges.
What is vision Rehabilitation?
These are services which helps the subject or family to understand and overcome the implications of vision loss through various adaptations and procedures.
Who can benefit from Vision Rehabilitation?
Vision rehabilitation is for all age group persons. Pediatric vision rehabilitation serves children between birth and 15 years with incurable vision loss or functional difficulties due to vision loss.
What are the services available?
Services begins with counseling and progressively encompasses age appropriate management services which need customization and are based on the visual and other sensory needs.
Why vision rehabilitation?
Vision Rehabilitation increases the maximum utilization of residual vision, enhances self-esteem, increases productivity of the subject and strives to make everyone a contributing member of the society.
Following are the components of the Rehabilitation center
Devoted Counseling: Lending a professional hand in making each patient / parent understand the accurate prognosis of the ocular condition, discovering and addressing various implications associated with vision loss (social, psychological and functional) & encouraging special skills training.
Special skills training: Training to accomplish personal, educational and vocational activities on par with the sighted through adapted techniques.
Parental Training: Training the parents and care takers in discovering and concentrating on the residual senses of the child to explore the world.
Early Intervention (0 – 5 years): Careful assessment, appropriate therapy under “SMILES” (Steady MILE towards Sight) program with appropriate referral to maximize normal developmental milestones including utilization of residual vision.
Comprehensive Low Vision evaluation: Thorough examination and prescription of appropriate low vision devices for those with residual vision & training them to use of these devices in simulated environment.
Educational guidance: Suggestion of appropriate learning modes (regular print, large print, Braille, audio books and special software) and models (regular, special, integrated and inclusive) of education based on various factors.
Environmental modification: Suggesting simple adaptations in the environment for the maximum utilization of residual vision and other senses.
Vocational guidance: Providing suggestions and support to discover the appropriate vocation, based on the ocular function and needs.
Access to technology: Intensive training in use of special software to help access various technology driven gadgets (mobile, computer etc.).
Guidance to avail supportive benefits: Appropriate guidance to all eligible persons to avail the different government benefits & concessions.
Referral: Appropriate timely referral to related services to prevent secondary complications and induce age appropriate