Low Vision Service

Contact Information
To schedule an appointment, stop at the University Station Eye Clinic receptionist scheduling desk or call (608) 263-7171.
UW Health eye care service specialists offer low vision therapy for patients struggling with their vision.
How do I schedule an appointment with the UW Vision Rehabilitation Service?
To schedule an appointment, stop at the University Station Eye Clinic receptionist scheduling desk or call (608) 263-7171. The UW Vision Rehabilitation Service is located on the lower level at University Station Clinic, 2880 University Avenue, Madison. If you have questions about vision rehabilitation, call Marshall Flax at (608) 237-8107 or (800) 783-5213.
What do I need to do on the day of my appointment?
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment and stop at the registration desk by the front door. Some fees are due at the time you register. Your eyes will not be dilated. Your appointment will last between one and two hours.
Will I get my eyesight back?
The low vision specialists do not diagnose or treat eye diseases. The purpose of low vision therapy is to help you get the most out of your existing eyesight. If you have questions about your prognosis (what's going to happen to your eyes), you should ask your eye doctor.
If my vision is expected to continue to decrease, is vision rehabilitation worthwhile for me?
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 live a safer, as well as more independent and fulfilling life. Ask your eye doctor about his/her long range expectations for your 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. Low vision therapy is noninvasive. Sometimes, it can help people who are experiencing sensitivity to light.
What is the cost?
This service is provided through the generous support of the University of Wisconsin Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired who cover most of the costs. Charges to patients range from $50-$150, depending upon the number of visits.
At this time, Medicare CANNOT be billed for this charge. If paying this fee represents a financial hardship, please contact Marshall Flax at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired [(608) 237-8107] to learn about financial assistance.
The Vision Rehabilitation Service does not sell low vision aids, such as magnifiers or reading glasses, but these may be purchased from local organizations. (A list will be provided to you.) Medicare does NOT pay for low vision aids.
If this program is beneficial, why doesn't Medicare pay for it?
Low vision services are strongly recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optotmetric Association (AOA) for patients with low vision. Efforts to obtain Medicare reimbursement have made steady progress, but not all services are covered. A review of this Medicare reimbursement policy is underway at the national level. Although Medicare pays for some types of medical equipment (wheelchairs and walkers, for example), it does not pay for all adaptive devices (such as hearing aids).
What is the goal of the UW Vision Rehabilitation Service?
Helping people with low vision to be as independent as possible is the goal of the Vision Rehabilitation Service. We may be able to assist you with low vision aids, techniques for using your remaining vision, and resources in the community that can help.
Vision rehabilitation is not a "treatment" to restore lost or damaged vision. It is a combination of 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. However, there are many low vision aids that CAN help you do specific activities. A person with low vision may use different low vision aids for different activities. The low vision specialists can help you determine which low vision aids will be most beneficial to you and how to use those tools effectively.