The vision rehabilitation centre was established by Dr. P. Namperumalsamy, Chairman, Emeritus, with the help of the International Eye Foundation in 1999 as a project and continued to deliver its services to persons with visual impairment. The main objective of this centre is to improve the patient’s quality of life and reduce cross-disability with various vision rehabilitation strategies. The vision rehabilitation centre has undertaken a foremost initiative to cope with the problem of vision impairment and multiple disabilities. The centre renders its service to all age groups of people with visual impairment.
- Comprehensive low vision assessment
- Enhancement of functional vision with optical aids and artificial intelligence gadgets
- Improve activities of daily living with the help of non-optical devices and rehabilitation strategies.
- Functional vision assessment for children with special needs
- Rehabilitation services for people with vision impairment through social and vocational rehabilitation counseling
- Digital resources training on computer softwares, and smart phone applications for persons with vision impairment
- Orientation and mobility training from the age of 2 for person with visual impairment
- Vision Enhancement programme for children with profound vision impairment and multi-disability
- Educational counseling for children and adult with vision impairment
- Outreach Programmes for children with special needs
- Innovation for affordable assistive devices
- Training program for the trainers
- Procuring and dispensing low vision devices
Children with irreversible vision impairment and with associated disabilities like Autism, ADHD, learning disability etc. are referred to VRC for functional vision assessment and rehabilitation services. Functional vision assessment checks the child’s cognitive vision abilities in addition to the routine ophthalmic evaluation.
- Children with profound vision impairment in infancy are provided a series of activities to improve the residual vision, through institution based, home based and online mode. Activities such as promoting the child to see with coloured lights, and patterns at a very early age, aid in utilizing the residual vision of the child.
- Children with profound visual impairment in infancy are trained to use stroller to improve independent mobility, which leads to exploration and socialization. After the age of 5, they are trained to use customized white cane to improve independent mobility in outdoor places.
- Children who have multiple disabilities may have associated cognitive visual dysfunction, which might lead to behavioural abnormalities, delayed development and poor academic performance or learning disability. These children are examined using a specially designed protocol to assess cognitive vision impairment and provided appropriate strategies or interventions to overcome cognitive visual dysfunction. For additional therapy, they are also referred to other professionals, especially govt or NGOs who provide integrated education, etc. There, the parents and special-educators are instructed about the strategies and interventions to be followed for the child with special needs.
- Once a year, special educators and parents of children with special needs are invited for short CME programmes to update on existing interventions and rehab facilities.
Low vision Devices:
For children with vision impairment, a complete assessment of vision will be done and a trial of low vision devices will be given. Based on the need of the children, optical or non-optical low vision devices will be provided to improve their quality of life e.g., reading the black board and reading books with magnifiers.
- Children who face challenges in calculation, and whose education in the normal school system, are supported by alternative modes of education like Inclusive education / Mainstreaming and special education. The centre has good networking with the schools for children with visual impairment or professionals in the mainstreaming system.
- Children who are capable of continuing education in normal school with the help of low vision devices are encouraged to study in the normal educational system. The teachers are instructed to communicate with a set of instructions which will make the child comfortable in the school.
- Children with profound VI are provided orientation and mobility training using customized height based canes, which eventually helps them to be independent and improve socialization.
- Children with profound visual impairment, who wants to learn Braille will be trained with brailler. This will help the children to use the advanced technology like Orbit reader.
For a person with irreversible visual impairment, a complete assessment of vision will be done and a trial of low vision devices will be tried. Based on the need of the patient, optical or non-optical low vision devices will be provided to improve their quality of life e.g., telescopes to look at name boards, magnifiers for near work, notex to identify currency notes, etc.
Vocational guidance :
Persons with VI in need of employment are provided guidance on how to seek for job opportunities or skill training. They are referred to appropriate centres or NGO s providing employment and skill training.
Person with VI will be guided by the rehabilitationist / Digital resource trainer to seek suitable jobs based on their Eye pathology and visual impairment.
Guidance is provided to obtain help from govt or NGO based support groups, in accessing the privileges reserved for persons with disability in terms of self –management and house hold management.
Mobility training :
Mobility training with standard white cane, smart canes and other assistive devices like an electronic wand, blind man torch, and Ausion is provided. Person with visual impairment, having typical person help or who is not interested in walking with a white cane was trained by sighted guide technique.
Digital resource services:
Training is provided to use computers and laptops using the special screen reader software. It is a customized training programe, provided by a trainer who is also visually impaired. The training schedule is customized for each patient depending on their need and the ability to use a computer.
They are also trained to use smart phones with talk back facility, magnifier options inbuilt in the android mobiles, and different specialized apps to access the technology like a normal person.
Persons who are not able to access specific audio files of their study materials are provided with audio recordings of their entire syllabus. This is done with the help of volunteers who record the syllabi and reading materials.
Community based LV service:
Persons with low vision are identified in the community with the help of field workers in the population supported by the primary eye care centres of Aravind. These patients are rehabilitated in the community by the LV team and if needed, they are referred to base hospital for further treatment.
Children with Autism studying in the special school were examined by our professionals for a complete comprehensive cognitive vision assessment and enlighten the parents as well as the special teachers on the appropriate vision intervention..
Children with vision impairment who are studying in the inclusive education were examined and rehabilitated by the LV team in their hometown with the help of special teachers working under the SSA project.
Collaboration with Vision-Aid
Aravind Eye Hospital partners with Vision-Aid, a non-profit organization committed to its mission of Enabling, Educating and Empowering the Visually Impaired to live with independence and dignity. Vision-Aid and Aravind have joined hands to collaborate in Advanced Training Programs for the Visually Impaired, Professional Training Programs for Vision Rehabilitation professionals, Affordable Technology devices and R&D initiatives. Vision-Aid offers several free resources and training programs to the visually impaired. To see more details about Vision-Aid please visit www.VisionAid.org. Information about Vision-Aid’s freely offered training programs for the visually impaired can be found at www.training.visionaid.org
- Hospital anxiety and depression scale assessment of patients with low vision before and after using low vision care: A prospective study in a tertiary eye-care setting