For low vision specialists and those who consult them
Book review: “Low Vision Rehabilitation: A practical guide for occupational therapists” by Scheiman, Schieman and Whittaker
July 21, 2009Posted by on
This is an excellent overview of low vision rehabilitation which is intended for the Occupational Therapist but would be of equal benefit to educators, low vision support workers, ophthalmic technicians, clinicians new to low vision rehab, or families of people with visual impairment.
It starts with a very clear introduction to epidemiology of visual impairment, basic anatomy and optics, and the pathophysiology or common causes of low vision. Whilst this overview would be insufficient for an optometry student revising for exams, it ensures that the intended reader is not left behind by terms in the rest of the book.
The second section presents the optometric and occupational therapy models of low vision evaluation. The bulk of the book, rather optimistically entitled “treatment”, covers optical low vision devices, nonoptical devices, electronic magnifers, environmental modifications and computer technology in low vision rehab. It also includes an excellent chapter on diabetes self-management which is often overlooked in other textbooks. The final section describes pratice management for the low vision practitioner.
I have some reservations over the section entitled “treatment”; as low vision professionals we are able to ameliorate some of the difficulties people with visual impairment experience but I really don’t think it’s fair to say that we treat anything. This may sound like a pedantic point, but I think it is misleading to our clients/patients/service users if they think they are being referred for a low vision “treatment”. I was also disappointed to see quite heavy used of low vision simulation photographs in the text: I think it is now reasonably well accepted that a photo of a scene with a black pattern in the middle is not a realistic simulation of vision with a macular scotoma, for example.
However, these are minor gripes about what remains an extremely readable, useful overview of low vision rehabilitation which may well find readers beyond its intended audience.