As we get older we tend not to be able to see as well as younger people around us. For some, daily activities such as reading labels on food packets, watching television, using a computer, or paying our bills can become difficult, even when we wear our regular glasses or contact lenses. For these people, the free Low Vision Service can be a real lifeline.
Professor Barbara Ryan MBE believes that everyone should be able to get Low Vision support on their own high street and she has worked to ensure that optometrists across Wales provide a lot more support than just sight tests for people who need help with everyday tasks. “Before Low Vision started, people who were losing their sight frequently had to wait up to six months and then travel to specialist centres to get help” says Barbara “now specially trained optometrists deliver this fantastic support directly in their communities where it is needed most.”
Thankfully, it is now extremely rare for someone to lose their sight completely, but conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other damage to the eyes from disease or injury can occur. At Monnow Eyecare, Barbara runs a special Low Vision service providing lots of practical support and information for these patients and their families. It runs on Thursday every week. If you have not attended one before, there is no need to feel nervous, as the friendly team at Monnow will quickly put you at ease.
What happens at a Low Vision appointment?
During your appointment Barbara will discuss your eyesight and the everyday difficulties that causes you. She will provide advice about adapting your home to make the best use of light. She’ll then give you an opportunity to try out a variety of aids such as magnifiers, typoscopes, lights or reading stands to find the ones that suit you best. Monnow Eyecare will then order these items for you, on a permanent loan basis, to use in your own home for as long as you need them. ”Our aim is to make sure patients are confident to use some of the many aids available so they can live as independently as possible” says Barbara “we’re happy to chat on the phone with people new to using them if they need to and, of course, everyone will have an annual follow up appointment to make sure the aids are still working well for them in the longer term”. Patients will also be given contacts for other local support services such as voluntary groups or GP if they could benefit from additional help.
If you or someone you care for would like a Low Vision appointment, please contact our friendly receptionists on 01600 715 299 and they’ll book you a date that’s convenient for you.