For low vision specialists and those who consult them
Low vision textbook reviews
May 19, 2010Posted by on
I have recently obtained a copy of Primary Low Vision Care by Rodney Nowakowski, and I think it’s great. Unfortunately it is currently out of print (it was published in 1994) but I can certainly recommend it to both beginning and experienced low vision practitioners.
What makes a good low vision textbook? I think the real test is how well an author discusses optics. Whilst many authors can write interesting chapters on social aspects of visual impairment, or on training strategies for orientation and mobility, to be able to explain the magnification created by holding a +10DS lens 40cm from the eye and 10cm from a page of text (and then to compare it to the effect of holding the same lens at 8cm from the page of text and 35cm from the eye) without either making the reader fall asleep is a real skill. The liberal use of patient histories, anecdotes and quotations also adds to the readability of the book, and some of the slightly acerbic comments by the author are also amusing.
What other textbooks would I recommend to the clinician interested in learning more about low vision? The classic low vision textbook is still probably Eleanor Faye’s Clinical Low Vision, but unfortunately this is also out of print. A more recent British text which is probably the standard low vision reference for British optometrists is Chris Dickinson‘s Low Vision Principles and Practice which is a very readable and comprehensive guide to low vision work. I have previously reviewed the book by Scheiman and colleagues on “Low Vision Rehabilitation: A practical guide for occupational therapists” which I think gives a good overview for the non-optometrist on low vision rehabilitation. For British ophthalmologists I think this book by Anne Sinclair and colleagues is excellent, whilst for optometrists in community practice who want to know more about low vision this similar book is very readable.
Of course no textbook can replace the experience of spending time with an experienced practitioner in a low vision clinic, or being taught by experts in the field. However, some of these textbooks are certainly a useful adjunct to formal teaching, and all of us can benefit from re-reading classic texts from time to time.