The Low Vision Rehabilitation Service
What is the goal of the Vision Rehabilitation Program?
The goal of our program is to help people with low vision to gain independence. We may be able to help you with low vision aids, techniques for using your remaining vision, and help you find resources in the community that can help. Our program is not a “treatment” to restore lost or damaged vision. It combines practical techniques and useful tools to help you get the most out of your vision.
Will vision rehabilitation services help me “see better?”
Regular glasses, in most cases, can no longer improve vision to the point where you can see as well as needed. But there are many low vision aids that can help you do certain activities. A person with low vision may need different low vision aids for each activity. We can help you decide which low vision aids will be most helpful to you and teach you how to them.
Will I get my eyesight back?
We do not diagnose or treat eye diseases. The purpose of low vision therapy is to help you get the most out of the eyesight you have. If you have questions about what’s going to happen to your eyes in the future, you should ask your eye doctor.
If I have been told my vision may get worse, is vision
Although some eye diseases can cause total blindness, most people will
keep some useful vision for the rest of their lives. Being able to get the
most out of your useful eyesight helps you be safer. It also helps you be
more independent and enjoy life more. Ask your eye doctor what you can expect for your future vision.
Will using my eyes make them worse, or cause them to weaken?
No! You cannot make your eyesight worse by using your eyes. You can
and should, in most cases, use your eyes as much as you want.
Is low vision therapy painful?
No! It is noninvasive. Sometimes, it can help people who are over-sensitive to light.
What is the cost?
Most of the costs are covered through the generous support of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the UW Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Charges to patients can range from $75 - $150. It will depend on the number of visits.
At this time, Medicare cannot be billed for this charge. If paying this fee is too costly for you, please contact Marshall Flax at theWisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (608-237-8107) to learn about financial assistance. The Vision Rehabilitation Program does not sell low vision aids, such as magnifiers or reading glasses. These may be purchased from local groups. (A list will be given to you.) Medicare does not pay for low vision aids.
If this program is helpful, why doesn’t Medicare pay for it?
Low vision services are strongly recommended by the American
Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) for patients with low vision. Although efforts to have Medicare cover the costs have made steady progress, not all services are covered. A review of the Medicare policy is in progress at the national level. Medicare pays for some types of medical equipment (wheelchairs and walkers). It does not pay for all adaptive devices (such as hearing aids).
How do I schedule an appointment with the UW Vision Rehabilitation Program?
Stop at the University Station Eye Clinic receptionist desk or call
(608) 263-7171. The Vision Rehabilitation Program is on the garden level at University Station Clinic, 2880 University Avenue, Madison. If you have questions about the program, call Marshall Flax at 608-237-8107 or
What do I need to do on the day of my appointment?
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Stop at the registration desk by the front door first. Some fees are due at this time. We will not dilate your eyes. Your visit will last from one to two hours.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7309.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/14/2013
Copyright © 01/14/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4471
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