We had Noah's low vision assessment this morning and I'm feeling quite happy about how it went. Noah has had an estimated range of vision since he was about 8 months old and the eye doctor added ONH, exotropia and nystagmus to our ROP stage 3 zones 1-2 with plus disease diagnosis. We were told that based on how his eyes "looked" his vision would fall somewhere between 20/70 (legally low vision) and 20/400 (20/200 is legally blind). This range was enough to get us hooked up with the department of vision and enough to get us on the VA deaf-blind census, but it is really quite a broad range. Well today, we got a number! 20/80 is firmly in the "low vision" category - yahoo! Of course Noah is still considered deaf-blind whether he's legally blind or not (and is actually still probably legally blind based on his field loss, which is estimated at 10-20 degrees), but 20/80 with a significant field loss is WAY better than 20/400 with that same field loss. The real goal of the low vision assessment has little to do with getting an accurate visual acuity, but it's too exciting to leave out.
"Dr. Mike" as Noah called him, had lots of cool low vision tools. The one that will have the most immediate benefit is the dome magnifier. Noah's reading level is to the point that we're starting to run out of large print baby books for him to read. The dome magnifier will help magnify standard print so that it is accessible to him. He'll also try out a CCTV for the same reason, but it doesn't have the same kind of portability, so it's more for large textbooks or magifying what is written on the board at school than for pleasure reading.
Noah will also be trying out a monocular for viewing things at a distance (like when we don't want him 6 inches from the TV!). At first he wasn't too into it, but once he realized he was actually seeing things on the other side of the room he was super excited. When he's older he can get something like this, but they don't come in kids sizes so he gets to be a one eyed pirate instead. Arrrgh, me matey!
We may also try a screen magnifying program on the computer called Zoomtext, although somene that I talked to today recommended a different program called Magic instead. Right now he does fine with us just increasing the screen size on our home computer, but as he starts using a computer more at school, one of these programs will be useful. Also at home we will hopefully be getting one of these keyboards so that Noah can work on being more independent on the computer.
All of this stuff plus this and 2 of these makes for an awful lot of tools for one mom to keep track of, but seeing him learn new things makes it all worth it.
P.S. That picture is obviously not recent, but I think it's great for a post on Noah's vision loss because he's facing straight ahead to the camera and yet isn't looking at it with either eye. Who know visual impairments could be so cute!?