Vision Rehabilitation Service

The Vision Rehabilitation Service (VRS) is located on the 8th floor of Mass. Eye and Ear in downtown Boston. Our goal is to assist vision-impaired patients to effectively use all of their remaining vision.

low1The center has offered vision rehabilitation services for more than 25 years to patients with eye conditions that restrict daily activities, mobility, productivity or independence. Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are examples of diagnoses that often can cause vision loss.

Vision Loss and Rehabilitation

Even minimal vision loss can affect a person's daily functions. Eye disease can restrict reading, mobility, productivity and independence. The goal of vision rehabilitation is to help patients effectively use all of their remaining vision.

Rehabilitation begins after patients have received appropriate diagnosis and evaluation by their eye doctor. It is part of the continuum of ophthalmic care, just as stroke rehabilitation or cardiac rehabilitation is part of the continuum of health care. Patients continue to receive treatment from their regular ophthalmologists while participating in rehabilitation.

Our Approach

Comprehensive vision rehabilitation care addresses five areas:

  • Reading rehabilitation
  • Activities of daily living
  • Safety
  • Participation
  • Well-being, including adjustment to vision loss

Rehabilitation interventions are collaborative plans made together with the patient based on the patient’s individual goals and on a detailed clinical evaluation of the patient’s vision which includes, among other factors:

  • Visual acuity
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Visual field, particularly the central visual field used for reading

The rehabilitation plan that results may include magnification aids, computer tools, vision training, and consultation with an occupational therapist to evaluate the home setting and develop approaches for safe and independent daily activities.

Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope, Macular Perimeter

The Vision Rehabilitation Service has one of New England's only Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope Macular Perimeters (SLO). This unique tool produces a real time, high resolution image of the patient's retina with a map of its functioning areas. With this tool, our staff is able to understand a patient's visual functioning and, if appropriate, teach the patient to use alternate peripheral areas of the retina.

Our physician staff consists of eye care specialists certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology or who are board-eligible and preparing for certification. Click here to find more information about our Vision Rehabilitation doctors.