Take-home message: Ophthalmologists who treat children with a diagnosis of vision loss can help with the near-term adjustment and long-term pursuit of goals by providing information about rehabilitation programs, support groups, and other resources.
There is life beyond a child ’s diagno sis of low vision or blindness.
After the diagnosis is given and a treatment plan proposed, the ophthalmologist ’ s responsibility extends to offering information to an often-devastated family about services, resources, and support systems in the community and elsewhere that can help them learn strategies for managing daily life and pursuing long-term goals.
“The ophthalmologist needs to be part of the visual rehabilitation team , because very often they are the entry point for a child with low vision, ” said C. Gail Summers, MD, a geneticist and pediatric ophthalmologist and professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences and Pediatrics, Minnesota Lions Children's Eye Clinic, Minneapolis.
“It ’ s not just ‘ here ’ s a prescription for a pair of glasses and goodbye. ’ There ’ s a lot more to it, whether it ’ s referral to an early intervention program for a young child, writing a letter to a school so that a child can work with a teacher for the visually impaired, or referring the family to a vision rehabilitation specialist, ” Dr. Summers said.