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Focusing on low–vision therapy at Clarke County Hospital

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 2:59 p.m. CDT

Low Vision Therapy can help those who need it, to overcome daily obstacles.

Low vision is a broad medical term used to describe a visual impairment affecting a person’s ability to perform everyday activities that cannot be corrected by standard glasses, contact lenses, surgery or medicine. Everyday activities such as dialing a phone, paying bills, reading mail, reading a computer screen, shopping and writing can pose difficulties for those who have uncorrectable impaired eyesight.

Kristi Huenemann, a licensed occupational therapist at Clarke County Hospital, has a graduate certificate in low vision rehabilitation. Her motivation for helping others with low vision difficulties stems from personal experience.

“Both of my grandmothers have been diagnosed with conditions that have resulted in low vision,” she said. “Seeing their struggles with completing daily activities has made me want to help them and others.”

Many studies show adults afflicted with low vision experience a significant decrease in quality of life.

“When getting yourself dressed in the morning, let alone cooking breakfast, poses a challenge, your quality of life is decreased,” said Huenemann.

Huenemann is certified to assist individuals with learning new skills and techniques, and introduce devices to people whose lives will be improved with low-vision therapy. Strategies for creating a better quality of life for people with low vision include creating a safe home environment, modifying activities and training individuals how to maximize use of their remaining vision.

“I want to be able to help patients with low vision to increase their independence with activities that are meaningful to them,” said Huenemann. “My goal is to help patients manage their lives more independently by helping them overcome the many difficulties that low vision poses.”

Therapy is available to anyone with a referral from their optometrist or medical doctor. A patient must be currently under physician’s treatment and a prescription is required. Occupational therapy at Clarke County Hospital is happy to answer any questions regarding scheduling treatment and may be reached at 641-342-5458.

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