Vision affects a person's ability to perform everyday tasks like walking, dressing and climbing a flight of stairs. It also affects a person's thinking processes such as reading and problem-solving. For many patients with neurological injuries and illnesses, therapy can be more effective when vision issues are addressed earlier in their rehabilitation program because vision relates directly to balance, attention, and interaction with people and objects in our environment.
Visual deficits most commonly encountered by patients include double vision, impaired visual perception and partial vision. All of these conditions can hinder the overall rehabilitation process. For example, a stroke patient may have trouble learning to tell time because partial vision allows him or her to see only certain areas of the clock. Another patient may have difficulty with balance and mobility because his or her perception of where their center of gravity is located may not be accurate. Integrating appropriate visual strategies, techniques and equipment into multidisciplinary treatment results in better rehabilitation outcomes.
The Vision Rehabilitation Program at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital includes three basic components.
Vision Clinic: Madonna is the only rehabilitation hospital in the region to offer a Vision Clinic. Patients are seen by an Occupational Therapist with specialized training in the area of vision, and by an Optometrist with specialized training in neurological rehabilitation. Together, these professionals assess patients, recommend treatments, adaptive equipment and special glasses, and may make referrals to an Ophthamologist if more serious conditions are found.
Vision Rehabilitation: Many people who have had a stroke, brain injury, or neurological conditions experience changes in their vision, which may impact their balance, attention, reading or other skills. With help and guidance from specially trained occupational therapy staff, patients use special equipment such as prism glasses, and learn adaptive strategies to help them with real functional activities. These techniques and equipment are shared with other members of the patient's rehabilitation team so they may be integrated into their treatment sessions to enhance learning and success. Other pieces of cutting edge technology are available for patients to use, including:
Useful Field of View (UFOV) is a computer administered and scored test of visual attention. It may be used to estimate risk in returning to driving or performing everyday activities.
Dynavision is used to train compensatory scanning strategies and improve eye movement, eye-hand coordination and endurance. This wall-mounted instrument with a touch-sensitive membrane panel containing 33 LED lights arranged in 3 concentric circles is used to test and train for eye-hand coordination, spatial integration and reaction times. The patient responds to the appearance of light by pressing the membrane button surrounding it in random or fixed light patterns.
Low Vision: Low Vision services are available to people who experience vision loss as a result of other conditions of the eye, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. An Occupational Therapist with specialized training in low vision performs an extensive assessment, which may include a home visit to determine modifications and adaptive equipment needed to increase safety and independence. Treatment focuses on the reducing the effects of reduced vision on daily activities such as handwriting, reading, and daily skills in the home and community by teaching adaptive strategies or use of adaptive equipment. Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital collaborates with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.