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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014


AVH Opens Low Vision Rehabilitation Center

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Natrona Heights, Pa., - Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) is pleased to announce the opening of its Low Vision Rehabilitation Center - the first of its kind in the area. Made possible through a donation from the AVH Auxiliary, the Low Vision Rehabilitation Center helps patients whose vision loss has affected their ability to safely and independently carry out daily activities. The center is a new service being offered through the hospital’s robust physical and occupational rehabilitation therapy program.
Low vision is a major contributor to the loss of independence for many individuals over the age of 70. Patients with common diagnoses such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, head injury and stroke, multiple sclerosis and cataracts will benefit from this type of service.
The goal of low vision rehabilitation therapy is to maximize the use of the clients’ remaining vision by teaching patients to use visual aid devices that are available, as well as teach them techniques to improve their visual skills. For example, some patients can be trained to use healthy parts of their eye to improve their reading ability. Optical devices recommended by referring eye care professionals are available for training before purchase for personal use. 
Home evaluations to identify any safety concerns can also be done as part of the program. Recommendations may be as simple as changing to a different type of light bulb or painting a wall a different color to add contrast.
Therapy in the program consists of an average of six sessions, or as long as it takes to meet the specific goals of the patient. Patients should have their vision evaluated by a specialist prior to starting therapy to ensure they are using their best corrected vision. A referral from an optometrist, ophthalmologist, physiatrist, neurologist, or primary care physician is required to receive services and the costs of the therapy are covered by most insurance plans for those meeting certain criteria.
According to Radha Kambhampati, MD, and Vice President of Medical Affairs at AVH, visual impairment impacts all aspects of life. “The Low Vision Rehabilitation Center at AVH is a welcome service to our Occupational Therapy program. The center can help people with visual impairments improve the quality of their life.”
“Low vision rehabilitation is a new and emerging area of occupational therapy,” said Kristy Ondriezek, Occupational Therapist at AVH, who oversees the program. “Our goal is to promote independence, safety and health for patients living with visual deficits.”
The Low Vision Center is located in AVH’s outpatient physical therapy center in Natrona Heights. For more information please call 724-224-2166.
For more information, contact:
West Penn Allegheny Health System
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